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Monday, 09/10/2012, 02:27 pm

Dominick Cruz: Until Renan Barao fights me, he's not the true champ | UFC NEWS

“Sometimes being a professional isn’t always about giving 100 percent because right now I’m not allowed to give 100 percent. If I tried to go put 100 percent into my training right now, I’d blow my knee out. Right now, being a professional is about staying calm, staying very patient, and letting the process take its course. I feel like a true champion can figure out a way to make due with what he’s got, and right now, that’s what I’m trying to do. It’s frustrating. If anything, that’s the one thing you can really get out of this interview. 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. 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.”

“To be going to these big events and not be training is by far the hardest thing ever. In my mind, what I’ve been telling myself since Day 1 is that you can go to every event out there and make yourself as famous as possible, but unless you’re putting the work in, it’s all in vain because none of this continues unless you’re training hard and doing what you’ve got to do to win. In my mind, it’s hard for me to go out there and get all this praise, and get these pats on the back when I can’t go in there and grind myself to the bone, and make myself feel like I deserve all this recognition. It’s hard – that’s the mental struggle and that’s the battle. I challenge myself everyday so that I can feel like I deserve those pats on the back and that I deserve to be champion, and when I can’t go out there and grind myself to the bone, it’s a mental battle for me because I judge myself more than anyone else possibly could.”

“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 number one contender spot; that wasn’t for the championship. 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.”

In this exclusive interview with UFC.com, UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz discusses his rehab from injury and the newly crowned interim title holder, Renan Barao.

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