Cruz Explains Why He Doesn’t Want An Immediate Title Shot
Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz spoke with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour about his return to the UFC after nearly a two year absence that came due to a torn ACL and then a torn groin. Cruz opted to fight Takeya Mizugaki instead of immediately fighting champion TJ Dillashaw.
“You know, it’s a weird thing because I never really lost the belt. But there’s people out there that are holding it and it’s just weird. I don’t really know what to think. I’m just going to fight, that’s literally where I’m at. It’s not that I don’t think I’m not champion, every person in this sport, if you don’t believe you’re of champion essence, then you shouldn’t be doing it. So of course I believe I’m a champion, no question in my mind, but I did have to give up my title. I literally had to beat the crap out of myself until I handed over the belt to somebody else. That’s a weird thing. I’m here now and I’m ready to get back at it.”
“Mizuaki is up for the title next. He’s on a five-fight win streak and he is looking at a title shot. He is top five and he is up there in the contender’s position. So for me, that is a very tough fight, first of all. Second of all, I didn’t take that fight because when I jumped into that Barao training camp, that’s when I realized that it wasn’t about fighting the fight that’s the problem, it was about doing the workload of a five-round camp. I don’t think anyone in the world understands except for a fighter that when you go from a three-round camp to a five-round camp, the amount of workload just skyrockets. It can’t even be compared, you literally are working, it’s like going from a 35 hour a week job to a 55 hour a week job and you’re not getting any more pay. So it’s like, you’re working your butt off and you’re doing everything you can. For a three round fight, I can work my body back and get myself strong so that when I get to that title contention spot, I’m ready to go and I don’t have to have any guess as to how tough my body and muscle structure is. Everything will be a slow process and I will be back in there. Now, a lot of people might view this as, ‘He’s taking a tune up or warm up fight.’ Well, tune up or warm up fights do not exist in MMA. That’s a boxing thing and it doesn’t happen in MMA. So going against a top five guy right off is big feat for me and I’m excited to do it. It’s a challenge. Mizugaki is extremely durable, tough and has a lot of cardio. It’s a big challenge for and I’m up for it. After feeling by body in that five-round camp I realized that I need to take my time for this camp because that’s the hard part. The fight itself is the easy fun part. That’s why I come out smiling, I’m loving life on the night of fighting. Training camp is a whole other demon in itself.”