Cody Garbrandt suggested a UFC bantamweight title tournament should take place at Fight Island after making a phenomenal return to the Octagon on Saturday.

In his first fight since March 2019, former bantamweight champion Garbrandt knocked out Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250 on Saturday with an incredible right hook just before the end of round two.

It was his first win since defeating Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight belt in December 2016, having suffered back-to-back losses to bitter rival T.J. Dillashaw and a knockout at the hands of Pedro Munhoz in his three subsequent fights.

There is no champion in the division due to Henry Cejudo's retirement after defeating Cruz at UFC 249 and Garbrandt thinks it should be settled at Fight Island – a proposed new base for UFC, which will reportedly be in Abu Dhabi, to ensure fights continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Let's do a bantamweight tournament, let's get us in there," said Garbrandt in a post-fight news conference.

"Let's go to Fight Island for a few months, go get quarantined out there, bring our coaches … and let's go to war.

"Let's get this battle, get this tournament and see who the real champion is. Let's go back to the old-school days."

Garbrandt (12-3) is ready to get back inside the cage quickly and wants a bout with number-three ranked bantamweight Petr Yan next, with his ultimate goal being to regain the belt.

"It's been a long journey to get back to the win column. I went from 11-0 world champion at 25 years old and [to] a three-fight skid," he said.

"That sometimes happens in life, we go through those growing periods and that's what it was, a growing and learning period.

"I kept motivated, kept driven and just kept having to pick myself up from ground zero and build myself up mentally, physically and emotionally, and my passion and love for the sport is here to stay. I'm excited to be back.

"There's only one name I want to fight in fight island and that's Petr Yan. Dana, I'm healthy, I'm ready, I want this strap back, I want this world championship back.

"It's vacant for a reason and that's my destiny to get it back. So I'll go through whoever they need me to go through, but it's inevitable it's mine."

Dillashaw is serving a two-year suspension after testing positive for EPO but will be clear to return to UFC in 2021.

Asked about the possibility of facing Dillashaw for a third time, Garbrandt said: "We're talking about T.J. who is still suspended, he's not even here, but that's a fight I'd like to get back.

"We all knew what he was on, we all knew what he was doing. He's serving his sentence, he's gonna have to live with that for the rest of his life.

"It's sad, I kinda feel bad for the guy he has no confidence that he has to use those kind of aids as a fighter. We'll see.

"I'm gonna have the world championship and if he works his way back up there, open doors let's get it."

Amanda Nunes produced another masterclass to retain her featherweight belt against Felicia Spencer in historic fashion at UFC 250.

Nunes overpowered Spencer for a unanimous-decision victory (50-44, 50-44, 50-45) in Saturday's main event at UFC's APEX facility in Las Vegas, where she extended her winning streak to 11 behind closed doors.

The bout marked the first defence of the women's featherweight title Nunes took from Cris Cyborg a year and a half ago.

And bantamweight holder Nunes made history, becoming the first double-champion to successfully defend titles in two divisions while holding both belts.

 

WHERE WAS THE FIGHT WON?

Nunes dominated Spencer inside the octagon from the outset – the Brazilian great producing a flawless performance.

It was a merciless display from Nunes, who left Canadian challenger Spencer with blood pouring from her face and a swollen forehead.

Punches and elbows were dished out, but Spencer somehow managed to survive a gruelling fourth round and extend the contest into a final round.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Nunes is running out of opponents. The 32-year-old passed her latest test with flying colours as she continues to search for a challenger to her throne.

THEY SAID WHAT?

"I'm defending both belts. I'm the greatest," Nunes said. "I'm so happy now. I don't know what's next. But I proved it already."

NEW RECORDS (W-L-D):

Nunes: 20-4
Spencer: 8-2

REST OF THE CARD

Cody Garbrandt, meanwhile, made a devastating return to UFC after knocking out Raphael Assuncao in the co-main event.

Former bantamweight men's champion Garbrandt was fighting for the first time after a 15-month hiatus amid a three-fight losing streak.

Garbrandt made an emphatic comeback in front of no fans due to coronavirus, stunning Assuncao with a huge right hook as the buzzer sounded at the end of the second round.

It was Garbrandt's first win since he defeated Dominick Cruz in December 2016.

Amanda Nunes and Cody Garbrandt will rock up at UFC 250 this weekend aiming to make statements for vastly contrasting reasons.

For Nunes, her bout with Felicia Spencer at UFC's APEX facility in Las Vegas marks the first defence of the featherweight belt she took from Cris Cyborg in sensational fashion a year and a half ago.

Garbrandt, meanwhile, returns to the Octagon after a 15-month hiatus with the former bantamweight champion on a three-fight losing streak.

Here, we take a look at three talking points ahead of Saturday's fight action.


NUNES FACES 'FEENOM' THREAT

The fearsome Nunes needed just 51 seconds to wrest the featherweight strap from Cyborg in December 2018 to become UFC's third simultaneous two-weight champion. It was a devastating performance but not out of sync with her dominance in UFC, which now sees her on a 10-fight winning streak including a 48-second win over Ronda Rousey and triumphs over Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko and Holly Holm. Since defeating Cyborg, Nunes has defended her bantamweight strap against Holm and Germaine de Randamie while she waited for Germaine de Randamie the 145-pound scene to take shape.

For former Invicta FC featherweight champion Spencer – who put on a game showing in a losing effort in Cyborg's final UFC fight – Nunes represents the greatest challenge of her career. The submission specialist is likely to try and take this one to the ground to avoid the striking ability of Nunes – this one could get feisty.


GARBRANDT AT CAREER CROSSROADS

In December 2016, the bantamweight world was at Garbrandt's feet as he shocked the legendary Dominick Cruz to become champion at 135lbs. But a couple of devastating knockout defeats to fierce rival T.J. Dillashaw were followed by a first-round loss to Pedro Munhoz in March last year. With champion Henry Cejudo announcing his UFC retirement after defeating Cruz at UFC 249 last the month, the bantamweight division is wide open and Garbrandt has a huge opportunity to get his career back on track.

However, 'No Love' comes up against the fifth-ranked Raphael Assuncao – a man also out to recover from damaging defeats to Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen. Victory could propel either towards a future title fight. Defeat… well best for both men not to contemplate what that could mean for their UFC futures.


STERLING-SANDHAGEN TO STAKE BANTAMWEIGHT CLAIMS

In a night that will go a long way to shaping the future of the bantamweight division, the highly rated Aljamain Sterling goes up against Sandhagen to lay their respective claims for a title fight. Sterling, ranked second in the division, is an upcoming star who has won four straight bouts. His 'Funk Master' moniker is a fair reflection of his flair-fight style but in Sandhagen he goes up against a fighter who is also riding the crest of a wave.

The American has won each of his five fights in UFC and only has one defeat overall on his MMA resume. This one has serious 'Fight of the Night' potential and is sure to have ramifications for the outcome of the title.

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