“The closer I get to the Octagon, the more my confidence rises. You hear the cage door lock … and you have your adversary standing across from you—it’s another lion pacing back and forth.”
MMA fighter Cody Garbrandt grew up throwing punches. He comes from a legacy of fighters on both sides of his family. Long before he ever set foot in the Octagon, he was sitting outside the ring to watch his uncle, an Olympic alternate in boxing, and battling with his most formidable competitor, his older brother Zach.
“My brother was always bigger, faster, stronger, meaner than me growing up, so I think that’s why I was always quick to fight. It was something I had to prove.”
But, the fierceness the fights with his brother also extended to their loyalty and their capacity for love. In high school, an injury sidelined Cody from defending his title as a high school wrestling state champion. Without the discipline and drive of his sport, he was left feeling aimless, lost, and living carelessly.
“I feel like my road was running to an end. For a while, I wasn’t who I was; I was in a very dark place … it’s the first time I’m talking about it.”
At his lowest point, Cody’s brother Zach intervened and stepped up to fight for Cody’s life. It catalyzed a turning point that led Cody out of the dark and into a life reaching for the light—a life where he found victory, not only in fighting, but in surrender as well.