UFC: Dominick Cruz Wants The Quickest Route To The Title
The former two-time UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, hasn’t fought since December 2016, when he lost his belt to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207, via unanimous decision.
Since losing the title, Cruz has booked to fight twice, but both times he had to pull out due to injuries. But of late the former UFC bantamweight champion has been feeling healthy again and is eyeing a return to the Octagon in 2020.
Earlier this month, the number four ranked UFC bantamweight Cory Sandhagen revealed in an Instagram post that he had agreed to a fight Cruz at UFC San Diego on May 16th. But it was later reported that the UFC were working on Sandhagen versus Aljamain Sterling instead.
After the fight fell through, Sanghagen hinted that Cruz had backed out of the fight. Speaking to MMA Fighting however, ‘The Dominator’ expressed his thoughts on the situation.
“That’s what I want to clear up because I keep getting people asking me about Cory Sandhagen and that he took the fight, and then he asked me or something,” Cruz told. “I’m like, ‘well, is that a fact, or is that your experience?’ because I didn’t talk to Cory Sandhagen.
“Who said that I took it? What I’ve heard is that he’s saying that he took the fight and I didn’t. My question is, who did he talk to that said that I got offered the fight and I said no? What I know is, there’s only one common denominator between myself and any of the other fighters that might get matched up, Sean Shelby. He’s the matchmaker. Don’t we all know that in the whole world?
“So Sean Shelby is the matchmaker, me and Cory Sandhagen don’t talk, who is Cory Sandhagen getting his information from? He’s getting it from the matchmaker. Where else would he get it? He’s the only guy talking to both of us, isn’t he?
“What Shelby does is he creates fights between the fighters before the fight happens so that he can get himself out of the way,” Cruz continued. “That’s my experience. It’s not a fact. And what I’m getting from this is Shelby’s telling Sandhagen about me, then Cory Sandhagen puts it out there and then expects me to bite.”
And the injury-prone 35 year old is looking for the right fight that will get him a title fight quickly as possible.
“Sean Shelby told me, in all reality: I said, ‘how do I come back and get a title shot the fastest,'” Cruz explained. “He said, ‘you can get a title shot if you fight Petr Yan.’ I said I want that fight. He said, ‘well, technically, that’s a harder fight so you’ll get a title shot right after it, but we don’t want to give you a title shot right after so we would give you Sandhagen before you get Yan.’
“I was thinking, I want a title shot. I don’t want to just fight somebody, I want to fight towards the title. So I would fight anybody, let me get the title shot after that fight.
“[Sean Shelby said] ‘Petr Yan’s the guy.’ I said yes, I’ll fight Petr Yan. He said I can’t fight Petr Yan because he’s fighting Marlon Moraes. Well then I’ll fight Moraes, or Petr Yan, because those are direct fights straight to the title. After I beat either of those guys, I get a title shot. That’s what I’m in this for, not to fight 13 times beforehand.
“Sean Shelby’s saying all of this stuff to different fighters and not telling me about it,” Cruz continued. “You offered me Petr Yan to get to the title, and then you switched it up. That’s the truth.”
“I never said no to Sandhagen. I never would. I don’t say no to fights. What I said no to was not fighting Petr Yan. I want to fight Petr Yan, I want to fight Marlon Moraes, I want to fight for the title after I fight one of those guys. If you need me to get one fight back before I fight for the title, give me that guy you need me to fight to get to that title.”
Cruz explains that if the UFC wants him to compete more than one time to earn a title shot, he will take extra time to get himself at peak physical health.
“If you’re Sean Shelby and you’re going to have me fight a bunch of times before, OK then, I’ll do it, but I’m going to take the fight when I’m 100 percent lined up, sharp and ready,” Cruz stated. “My reps are still building, I’m still getting the timing, I’m still getting reps in sparring. I’m still drilling, I’m still getting sharp.”
“I’m going to fight in 2020. The real question is, how do I get a title shot? I want to fight somebody and then after the fight, let me go fight the best guys.”
Even though Cruz is looking forward to his Octagon return, he believes there are bigger fish to fry at the moment.
“Well isn’t it interesting how we always want to do that? We always want to go into the future,” Cruz said. “There’s no peace in the future, is there? Because does anyone even know what’s happening in the present? We’re in a virus pandemic right now. And it’s funny to me that everybody wants to know what’s going to happen in the future. We don’t even know if I’m going to have a job.
“Why are we talking about my future when, realistically, we need to come together to figure out how to keep the sport going? Not when Dominick Cruz fighting. How do we keep MMA moving is the question for me. That’s what matters to me. I’m a part of MMA and I can’t fight, nobody in the UFC can fight until we beat this virus situation
Despite not competing inside the cage for over three years, Cruz has been active outside, commentating on UFC events. He is expected to reprise his role as a commentator at UFC 249.
Who would you like to see Dominick Cruz fight in his return to the Octagon?