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Former UFC champ challenges Pacquiao

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Cody Garbrandt wins. (Form Instagram: @cody_nolove)

Cody Garbrandt wins. (Form Instagram: @cody_nolove)

By Rafael Bandayrel

Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt is the latest mixed martial artist to challenge a boxing superstar to a crossover bout.

Garbrandt, who went 32-0 as an amateur boxer, told TMZ Sports that he welcomes a fight against Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao.

“I would love that fight. Yeah, I would love that,” Garbrandt said.

Garbrandt, 27, is listed as the UFC’s number-one ranked bantamweight. However, the Team Alpha Male stalwart is on a two-fight slump, suffering back-to-back knockout (KO) losses to current champion TJ Dillashaw.

While critics are quick to dismiss crossover fights as money-grabbing circus shows, Garbrandt believes MMA fighters could legitimately hang with boxing stars inside a ring.

“I’m a fan of [crossovers]. You know, a lot of us have boxing backgrounds. So why can’t we be able to do it?” Garbrandt asked rhetorically.

Pacquiao, meanwhile, hasn’t responded to Garbrandt’s challenge. The 39-year-old last saw action in July, scoring his first KO in nine years against Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse. He is currently ironing details out with Adrien Broner for a match planned for early next year.

The most high-profile crossover bout came in August 2017, when Floyd Mayweather Jr. stopped UFC posterboy Conor McGregor, who was making his pro boxing debut.

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