There are a number of sports that we enjoy watching and MMA is on our list. We had the chance to find out more about MMA fighter, Cody Garbrandt from how he came into the sport, what it takes to say fit and ready in the sport, how much fighting takes place each year, being a new father and about his new book that is out next month.
ATHLEISURE MAG: When did you realize that you wanted to be an MMA fighter and what was your journey like in terms of making your way into the sport as well as joining the UFC?
CODY GARBRANDT: Early in my life, I knew that was what I wanted. I watched it on TV, my uncle was an amateur boxer, and my mom put me into wrestling at a young age, so I was around it plenty. Plus, I enjoyed it…I grinded. From being tigers, doing wrestling camps, working hard at practice, I really wanted to be great. Eventually, I got into boxing and then transitioned into the cage as a teenager, and set my mind towards becoming a world champion from the very beginning.
AM: Do you have mentors in this sport that assisted you on your way up?
CG: Yeah, I had a lot of them. Some were actual coaches and others were just people who I admired. For example, my pee-wee football and high school wrestling coaches gave me a lot of guidance throughout my life. As motivators, my Uncle Robert, who is my wrestling coach now, and of course my mom, were two people in my life that were always there for me, and I really appreciate them.
AM: We have interviewed a number of athletes from wrestlers, Olympians, NFL members and more. What is a typical workout like for you in terms of just maintaining your body versus what you do for a fight?
CG: The difference between some other sports and UFC is that other sports have an off season. We have to train all year round as if we are in season because at any moment we could be told we have a fight in two weeks, and that fight could be the “Super Bowl” of fights to us. So, if you’re not ready on any given day, you’re going to have a hard time being successful. I switch up my routines from day-to-day though, some days I’ll do spar training more, some days I’ll do more pad sessions or focus on strength. Everyday though, I do martial arts training with some of the best in the business in addition to those other workouts.
AM: In your sport, what is your schedule like in terms of how many fights you tend to do in a year?
CG: Realistically, the human body can only undergo so many fights in a certain period of time. For me, that’s about three fights per year, but once when I was still coming up and doing everything I could to get experience, I did eight fights in one month. In 2016, when I went from unranked to becoming the world champion, I did four fights that year. But on average, I’d say people fight about three times in a year.
AM: We know that you're a new dad and you have a beautiful wife and family, how do you balance your time in terms of being with your family as well as having date nights?
CG: That’s definitely something we’re currently addressing, and with Kai just being born, we are trying to find the best ways to work it all out. Since it’s just me and Danny out here, if we go out to dinner, we take Kai along with us. But I love coming home every day, and when I leave to say goodbye, being able to kiss them both and work for them motivates me so much to take care of them and set up as best of a future as I possibly can. My friends and family told me what it was going to be like to have a kid, and they said it was seriously going to be "life changing", but I never really believed them until it happened. My wife and son have given me so much more purpose.
AM: With you next fight coming up this summer with T.J. Dillashaw, what is the mental prep like for this fight when it's the day of the match?
CG: Fight day is all mental. The physical part is entirely done by then, so you have to prepare yourself mentally for the fact that another man is trying to get in a ring with you and hurt you. Aside from a quick morning workout the day of the fight, which we call a “shake out” to get out all of the junk and get a good sweat in, I make sure I relax, spend some time with my family, and try not to focus too hard on it. My final step is right before I go out, I say a prayer for strength, honor, and courage in the ring.
AM: What is on your playlist when you're training?
CG: I actually have a really diverse selection, but I’m a country boy sometimes. I also really like rap and some Celine Dion. When I’m training though, I listen to a mixture of Post Malone, G-Eazy, Drake, The Game, Eminem, and even James Bay when I want to go for a couple hour jog.
AM: We know that The Pact is coming out May 8th. Can you tell us about the process of making it, what it covers and what you want fans and readers to learn from this book?
CG: The process was just something that came forward and all about meeting the right people. I was trying to do it a while ago and now it just lined up perfectly with everything. I want people to be inspired and learn to chase their dream no matter the obstacle, and let people know that Maddux came into my life when I needed new direction. There is growth within life, and sometimes you have to bury down and blast through hardships.
AM: What is your personal style like as we know you wear great suits and you have cool athleisure style. What's your style for training, running errands/hanging with friends and then date night with your wife?
CG: For training, I see some guys who wear those really tight shorts that go to your thigh, but I prefer just a nice simple pair of workout shorts. On top though, I wear Onnit bamboo shirts, which are really nice to workout in since I like my outfit to be as breathable as possible. I usually have to change multiple times in a workout.
At home though, I’m in total dad-mode…sweatpants and t-shirts all the time. If I’m going to go out, I have few favorite designers, like Amari, John Elliott, Daniel Patrick, Da Vinci, and Gucci. I even work with a company out of Sacramento called R. Douglas that I make a lot of custom suits with and wear out on nice occasions.
AM: Of all your tattoos, which one is your favorite or most significant and what is the story behind it?
CG: The tattoo of Jesus on my left shoulder that I got when I was fifteen. I added it at a time when I was really dedicated to going to church a lot and was growing my relationship spiritually.
AM: Your based in Sacramento, when you are there, where can we find you grabbing a meal, going shopping and to go to a fitness studio in the area when you are adding to your work out?
CG: In town, my wife always wants to go to her favorite sushi place, Mikuni. We probably go there close to three times a week. But, if you don’t see me there, my favorite workout spot is P2O, which I go to for hot yoga and fitness classes.
AM: We've been going through your IG account and we love seeing your wife pop up in pictures - does she have a background in fighting too?
CG: Her father is from Thailand and he was a Muay Thai fighter, so sometimes she goes there to train.
AM: Many athletes that we talk to talk about entrepreneurial endeavors that they are apart of in the sport. Should we expect to see you creating a clothing line or other projects?
CG: It’s definitely something I want to work on and have actually discussed in great detail with some people. Ideally, fashion is the place for me to go. Something involving workout clothes and styles, maybe try to spark some new trends.
AM: How do you give of your time?
CG: Yeah, I have a friend who works with Make-A-Wish in Sacramento, so I volunteer with them whenever I can. I also help with Strike for Kids and Rock Steady Boxing, who runs programs at my gym. I see people trying to live their life and succeed when they are faced with a lot of adversity, and it motivates me to be a better person and do everything possible to help.
AM: Is there anything that you would like to share with us that we have not covered?
CG: I definitely want to mention my dog, Canelo. Give a follow to canelo_garbrandt, he lives a good life.
PHOTOS COURTESY | CODY GARBRANDT