Dominick Cruz: until Barao fights me, he’s not the true champion


Its been approximately 4 months since current UFC bantamweight champion torn his ACL in practice training for Urijah Faber.

How is Dominick Cruz doing today? He is frustrated, and he made it clear in a recent interview with the ufc.

I’m frustrated. I’m ready to train, I’m ready to fight, but I can’t. This is for sure the toughest battle I’ve gone through in my life; no question. My livelihood somewhat depends on my body, and me fighting, me performing, and me practicing, and I’m not able to do that right now.

Rehabbing his knee, and sitting back in the sidelines while watching new contenders come up the bantamweight division has not been easy for the champion.

It’s a constant mental battle. Are you doing enough to be the best? Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing? I know deep down inside that I am, but something in the back of my mind - because I’m an athlete, because I train, because that’s what I do and that’s what comes natural to me - something in the back of my brain is always telling me, You should be doing more.The hardest part of physical therapy isn’t the therapy; it’s holding back on the things that I’d like to be doing.

When news of Cruz injury surface, Urijah Faber who was schedule to fight Dominick Cruz at UFC 148 quickly asked the UFC to make an interim belt, and that's what the UFC did.

Not long after Cruz injury, the UFC revealed that Urijah Faber will face bantamweight phenom Renan Barao for the UFC interim bantamweight belt at UFC 149 as the main event of the evening.

Faber was coming of a dominating victory over one of the best in the bantamweight division Brian Bowles, his opponent Barao, was on a 29 fight win streak, and was regarded by some as the best bantamweight in mma.

On UFC 149, Barao easily dominated Urijah Faber for five rounds earning a unanimous decision victory, and becoming the interim champion of the bantamweight weight division.

Cruz on Faber vs Barao:

You know, they were fighting for the #1 contender spot in my opinion. I tip my hat to Barao for a great performance that night, and I take nothing from him, but until he fights me, he’s not the true champion. That’s just the way it is, and everybody knows that. I’m not taking away from the performance that he had, but that was for the #1 contender spot; that wasn’t for the championship.

Cruz on Renan Barao:

He’s done a good job to get there, but when he fights me, he’ll get to see what it’s like to fight for a championship belt. All I can do is sit back and wait – get my knee better, perfect what I’m doing, and stay mentally sharp. Him beating that guy that he beat, it was good for the division. Out with the old, in with the new.

Cruz even talked about his fellow teammate Mike Easton, who is quickly becoming a possible contender for the bantamweight belt:

Me and Mike have talked a lot about it because if you don’t talk to your training partners about there being a possibility of fighting them you’re an idiot. We know there is a possibility, and I wouldn’t want it any other way than to be fighting one of my best friends for the world title. What better circumstances are there than you and your main training partner are the two best guys in the world, and you’re going to fight for that position? In my opinion, we’re doing something right. He’s like family, but that would not stop us from beating the living crap out of each other, and I know he shares that mindset with me. Maybe that’s why we’re such good friends?

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