"I've had three or four years to have everything taken from me. When you have everything taken from you, you have nothing to fear. I was a champion at the pinnacle. I had the division cleared (out). I believed in myself and I think everybody here would agree that I earned that position to be called champion. Then it got taken away mysteriously out of nowhere because I was injured. When you lose something like that, it gives you a clarity of how much you really don't own anything. It gives you a clarity of life, of how much of a privilege it is to actually be here in front of your guys."
That is a rather Zen philosophical way of looking at things by former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight kingpin Dominick Cruz, who has been sidelined for the better part of the last four years. The former champion is using the harrowing career setbacks as motivation for his upcoming title fight against T.J. Dillashaw, whose stance-switching style is often compared to the "Dominator". Following a number of injuries dating back to 2012, Cruz was officially stripped of the title by UFC in early 2014 when another injury scuttled plans to unify the bantamweight belt with Renan Barao. The Brazilian was then upended by Dillashaw, who has gone on an 8-1 tear since losing in The Ultimate Fighter 14 Bantamweight tournament in 2011. Since that time debate has raged on who the true 135-pound best really is. The pair will hook 'em up at UFC Fight Night 81 in Boston, Mass. on Jan. 17, 2016 to put the question to rest once and for all.