Dominick Cruz believes he deserves to be in the title picture at bantamweight.
Cruz is set for his second fight of 2021 as he battles Pedro Munhoz on the prelims in an intriguing matchup. The former champ is coming off a split decision win over Casey Kenney and should he beat Munhoz, Cruz believes he deserves to be in the title conversation.
“I think that any time I’m competing, you should be talking about me as a title contender. I’m here to compete to be the best,” Cruz said at UFC 269 media day. “I’m not here to just play around. I’m here to keep going up.”
Given his name and his legacy, there is no question Cruz is always in the title conversation at bantamweight. However, the top of the division is clogged with Yan-Sterling having to have their rematch, and TJ Dillashaw and Jose Aldo at the top. But, if Cruz wins, there is no question he will be right there for a big fight next time out.
In order for Dominick Cruz to even be considered in the title picture, he needs to beat Munhoz on Saturday night. It’s a tough matchup for the former champ as he knows the Brazilian is dangerous on the feet and on the ground.
“Pedro’s obviously one of the best in the world to me. Nothing but respect. I mean, the guy carries himself like a professional, and he’s just, I mean, I’ve seen him knock people out,” Cruz said. “He’s a knockout artist is how I view him, and he’s a grappling finisher. So to me, he’s a finisher. He’s always going for the finish one way or another.”
Although the focus is on Munhoz, Cruz only makes it clear he just wants to work his way up the bantamweight ranks.
“I’m looking to climb the ladder and not anything else,” Cruz said. “Just move up in a forward direction. That’s it. Right up the mountain to the top.”
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