Cody "No Love" Garbrandt says he was MERCIFUL to Dominick Cruz -- claiming he could've knocked him out "multiple times" at UFC 207 ... but was having too much fun toying with the guy.
Cody joined the guys on the "TMZ Sports" TV show (airs Tuesday night on FS1) -- and said he could pinpoint the moment he knew he had the fight locked ... but carried Cruz to the 5th round "for fun."
Garbrandt says he had such a great time beating Cruz he wants a rematch -- and says next time, Cruz won't make it past the 2nd.
Check out "TMZ Sports" weeknights on FS1.
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