Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports

First, let me preface this post by saying Cody Garbrandt‘s performance against Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 was nothing short of magical. The highlight reel of his seemingly impossible moves will forever thrill and amaze.

But the dude fought longtime rival TJ Dillashaw at UFC 217, and with Garbrandt’s bantamweight belt (which was formerly Dillashaw’s) on the line, Garbrandt got merked. HARD.

And it was a pretty decent payoff for a lot of back-and-forth trash-talk, which came at us in every interview and through a season of TUF rivalry (they were opposing coaches on TUF 25).

When Dillashaw smashed Garbrandt, and then stood in the dazed fighter’s face, the bout over but the heat still on… it was kinda glorious.

They’re re-matching at UFC 227, so of course all the ill will has been put on the front burner to hype the fight. On this week’s “The MMA Hour“, Garbrandt gave us another glass of Hater-ade, plus some insight on how he’s coped with losing so definitely to his rival.

How has he coped? By spinning the crap out of the loss.

“That’s why I was so — after T.J., hats off to T.J., congrats to you. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful that I was able to win the world title at a young age, I’m thankful that I was able to lose it at a young age. Because I was already good before that and this is what’s going to make me great. I’ve always learned so much from my losses.

“I lost an amateur fight where it was supposed to be my last amateur fight before going pro and people were like, ‘Oh, you think you’re going to make this? You just got knocked out as an amateur?’ And I went on to win 13 fights straight and become a world champion, the best in the world. So that’s why I’m so motivated now. I just took it all in, walking out of the Octagon on November 4th [at UFC 217]. Like, alright, we’re on this, I knew 100 percent we’d get this shot again. Didn’t care how long it had to take me.”

We’ve heard fighters spin their losses as learning experiences a million times. But hey, at least Garbrandt isn’t making excuses.