Cody Garbrandt has a plan ... fight Jose Aldo, beat Aldo, drop down a weight class and take on the winner of Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno ... and get the UFC belt back!
The 29-year-old former bantamweight champ is coming off a serious battle with COVID-19 (more on that later) ... and hasn't fought since knocking out Raphael Assuncao in June 2020.
But, No Love is back ... and he laid out his next moves to TMZ Sports.
"The best possible solution for me in my mind, is the Aldo fight. So I'm gonna keep my weight here, keep strong, keep fast, keep developing, ya know?"
Garbrandt is the 3rd-ranked 135 lb. fighter ... and 34-year-old Aldo is 6th -- but Cody knows the Brazilian legend is still very dangerous.
"[Aldo's] a long-standing rival with Team Alpha Male, but can always count on me. Count me to get the job done, and I'm focused, and I'm hungry and that's where I'm at in my career and in my life. I'm a dangerous man."
After beating Aldo, Cody tells us he plans to drop down to the 125 lb. division and take on the winner of the Figueiredo and Morenorematch.
"I'll fight Aldo in April. Put a legend in my cap. Get a good win, fight a legend. Stay sharp at camp and then whoever wins out of that fight with Figgy and Moreno, we fight in September or August."
Garbrandt also breaks down his serious struggles with COVID ... and how he dealt with vertigo, pneumonia, and a kidney infection that hospitalized him.