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"I think a lot of people have misconceptions about me. People usually believe what Faber's been saying about me, that I'm a d-bag and all these negative things. Of course, he's going to say negative things about me. I've beaten him and some of his teammates. What nice stuff will he have to say about me?"
-- Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz tells Sports Illustrated that he feels fans have based their opinions of him due in large part to what one Urijah Faber has said about him in the past. "The California Kid," who is among the most popular and endeared mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters today, has had a bitter rivalry with "The Dominator" that dates back to the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) days of old. The two first locked horns at WEC 26 on March 24, 2007, which saw Faber defeat Cruz via guillotine choke in what remains his only loss to date. Ever since then, the two have had a heated war of words with Faber calling Dominick an immature punk, disrespectful and an irritator -- verbal attacks that Cruz believes could be the reason several fans have a misconception of him. Four years after their initial encounter, Cruz avenged his loss to "The California Kid" by earning a unanimous decision win at UFC 132 this past July to retain is 135-pound strap. Now, the score will be settled as the two bantamweights are scheduled to meet one more time in a trilogy fight scheduled to take place in mid 2012 after the two serve as head coaches of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15, which is set to debut on March 9, 2012, on FX. With their heated rivalry already intact, TUF 15 could prove to be a very entertaining season. How about it Maniacs, have your opinions on Cruz been swayed by the past comments made about him by his rival or does he have himself to blame?