Back in the spotlight, Dominick Cruz is ready to prove he belongs in today’s UFC. He can do so by beating Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 for the UFC Bantamweight Title. With a spiritual mindset, Cruz believes a win can unite those during a global pandemic.
Speaking on the UFC 249 media conference call, Cruz (22-2) looked past Cejudo’s insults and talked about how he got to this moment. The 35-year-old last fought at UFC 207 in 2016, losing to Cody Garbrandt. He lost the UFC Bantamweight Title he won from T.J. Dillashaw in January of that year, a fight that was a comeback moment for him. After tearing his ACL, Cruz returned in grand fashion and took back the title he never lost. Tearing his groin in 2014, his road back was inspirational.
How exactly does Cruz feel about this upcoming opportunity?
“It ranks up there as another history-making fight for me,” Cruz stated. “But I really look at this different than belts and everything like that. It’s really how you can make a difference in these times with this platform. I can make a difference in these times.”
Cejudo was supposed to face Jose Aldo UFC 250 in Brazil for the title. Aldo, who is on a two-fight losing streak and lost his bantamweight debut against Marlon Moraes, ended up out of the fight and Cruz stepped in. Initially, Cejudo wanted Cruz first, as he said he is on a “legacy rampage“, and Cruz was the guy to beat to secure his spot.
When it comes to Cejudo, Cruz admires him but sees him as just a former UFC Flyweight Champion.
“Realistically, this isn’t going to be as tough as the fight with T.J. (Dillashaw),” Cruz went on to say. “I do respect what Henry has done as a martial artist, but T.J.’s a true 135-pounder and Henry’s a true 125-pounder.”
Cruz went on to say that he wants to follow Muhammad Ali’s example as far as using his platform for social change. This is especially true when it comes to the current coronavirus pandemic. He brought up the sacrifices Ali made, and how he did what he needed to become the best.
With a long layoff, Cruz is hoping to keep his claim that he is the Michael Jordan of MMA. With title fights surrounding his UFC career and moments that will last a lifetime, Cruz is banking on one more classic moment.
UFC 249 takes place this weekend (May 9) inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.