Renan Barao got to the UFC title without going through the real UFC champion, Dominick Cruz.
An unfortunate string of injuries made that an impossibility and forced Cruz to give up his belt, without a fight.
Close to healed, Cruz tells MMAFighitng.com that he will take any fight the UFC gives him upon return and will not request an immediate shot at the belt he never lost.
“I never chose my fights in any part of my career, and even when I was going for the title fights (at UFC 169), that was because I was a titleholder. I felt that, being a titleholder, why would I ever, ever take a step back and not fight for the title? Even if, let’s say I was to go in there and just get mopped up (against Barao), that was the place that I was in. That was where I deserved to be, that title shot. I don’t believe I would’ve gotten mopped up and I believe, still, in my heart, that I’m the best 135-pounder in the world when I can get back to full health. But I’ve never chosen my fights, and I’m not going to start now.
“Whatever they give me, I’m going to do. Things are going to fall into place. I’ll be right back in the position as long as I deserve it, and I’ll work my way through however I need to. I’m not stressing about it because my first love is fighting, and if I need to fight, I don’t care who I gotta fight. I just can’t wait to get back in there, to be honest.”