Former champion Cody Garbrandt books December return against Brian Kelleher

By Josh Evanoff - October 18, 2023

Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt will face Brian Kelleher on December 16th.

Cody Garbrandt and Brian Kelleher

‘No Love’ has been out of the cage since a unanimous decision win over Trevin Jones in December. That was a massive victory for Cody Garbrandt, as it snapped a two-fight losing streak. Previously, the former champion had suffered back-to-back lopsided defeats at the hands of Kai Kara-France and Rob Font.

Fresh off his rebound win, Cody Garbrandt will now look to return in December against Brian Kelleher. The fight news was first broken by Marcel Dorff on social media, revealing that the two bantamweights will return at UFC 296. The event is currently expected to be headlined by Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington.


Dominick Cruz, Cody Garbrandt, UFC 207

Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207

There are also other high-profile matchups, including Alexandre Pantoja’s title defense against Brandon Royal, as well as Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Stephen Thompson. Now, the UFC 296 has gotten another boost in the form of this bantamweight clash. Brian Kelleher enters his clash with Cody Garbrandt in a must-win situation.

The longtime bantamweight contender is currently riding a two-fight losing streak. Having suffered back-to-back stoppage losses to Mario Bautista and Umar Nurmagomedov, he later had a canceled bout due to injury issues. With that in mind, Brian Kelleher and Cody Garbrandt will enter UFC 296 under very similar circumstances.

A fun tidbit about this matchup is that it was reportedly made by Joe Reeves. As first reported by Aaron Bronsteter, the newest matchmaker was the individual who put this clash together. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he got the job by winning the UFC’s Matchmaker Sweepstakes earlier this summer.

What do you make of this fight announcement? Who do you got? Cody Garbrandt or Brian Kelleher?


Brian Kelleher Cody Garbrandt UFC