MORE DAY! #TUFRedemption on @FS1 ! pic.twitter.com/USv6GD4PWh
The 25-year-old admits that being on the hit reality show wasn’t on his radar when approached by UFC President Dana White to coach.
“I’m not a coach,” he said. “I’m just focusing on being the best fighter that I can be.”
But he agreed to do it, and while he knows that being just a little over four years into his own pro career made him an unlikely coaching candidate, he made it work by pouring himself into the process.
“As I told them, I don’t know everything,” he said. “I’m still learning, I’m still a student of the game and I always will be. So I brought in the best coaches, the ones that got me to the top and got me to a world title. They (his team) got the best coaching staff, and this staff was able to help them progress and show them different things. These coaches know way more than I know.
And along the way, Garbrandt became more and more invested with a team of fighters he found out he had a lot in common with.
“A lot of them came from a similar background that I did,” he said. “And they had the passion and drive to make this happen, so it was hard not to get invested in these gentlemen and want them to succeed. I really cared about my team and I fought tooth and nail for them. I’m thankful for the opportunity because I grew as a human being and as a fighter.”
Even being around Dillashaw for six weeks didn’t sour him on the whole TUF experience, but Garbrandt didn’t shy away from his future challenger, a man he used to call a teammate when the two were on the Team Alpha Male squad in Sacramento. But after Dillashaw left the team to train in Colorado, everything went south, even though Garbrandt points out that, “I was never friends with TJ.
“TJ tried to play the victim on the show,” he said. “In all actuality, he sold out. I would never do that.”
So how does this get settled? They fight. And as far as Garbrandt is concerned, the sooner the better.
“Now karma’s coming back to him,” he said. “I’m karma, and I’m the meanest karma there is in the world.”