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Cody Garbrandt: UFC 300 prelims against Deiveson Figueiredo “works in my favor”

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Special occasions create special circumstances, and former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt is embracing his role as UFC 300's first-round opener.

It's not like Garbrandt (14-5 MMA, 9-5 UFC) is on the rocks. In fact, he has won two in a row. His opponent, former flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo (22-3-1 MMA, 11-3-1 UFC), is also on the rise after winning his first fight at 135 pounds in December.

So why are two former champions who are still going strong tasked with opening an event? Well, UFC 300 is a special case, packed with former champions and future Hall of Famers. Garbrandt understands this and focuses on the positive.

“For me, I feel the gratitude,” Garbrant told MMA Junkie. “Very grateful to be at UFC 300. First and foremost, I am grateful to be healthy enough to pursue this dream. Being announced first in battle is an advantage for me. I get up early, I train early, I've already done three training sessions today and it's almost 2 p.m. My day is basically coming to an end.

“So at 3 p.m. we argue, we open it – and it also shows what kind of pull I can have to get people in their seats from the first bell. It's difficult to get there from 3pm in the afternoon and stay there until 11pm. Even I have never been to a first UFC fight to even be a spectator.”

There are usually only two places on any fight card with reliable start times: the very first fight and the opening point of the main card. For everyone else, there may be a shift depending on what happens in the fight before. For this reason, Garbrandt finds another positive aspect of the opening of the event.

“It takes the guesswork out of it,” Garbrandt said. “The worst thing is when you think you're ready and you're warming up and this fight ends in the first round with a knockout or a finish or whatever happens. Then they come back: 'You're going for three!'”

The former champion plans to take care of business and then return to his family and friends to enjoy the rest of the card. While the first fight on the card is usually a place most want to avoid, Garbrandt focused on the positives with this fight and this particular event.

“To me, that says a lot,” Garbrandt said. “I’m excited to see what the UFC does. I understand that Dana and the bosses, Hunter, want people at this venue from start to finish. I can guarantee that I will go out and give the best performance of my life and fight like I always do.”

For more information on the card, check out MMA Junkie's UFC 300 event hub.

The story originally appeared on MMA Junkie