Dominick Cruz will get a crack at reigning UFC bantamweight champ Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 on May 9, but the booking has generated quite a bit of criticism.
The bout’s naysayers point to the fact that Cruz, despite being arguably the best bantamweight ever, has not fought since a 2016 loss to Cody Garbrandt. At the same time, several contenders such as Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling and Cory Sandhagen are on impressive win-streaks in the division and have arguably already earned title shots themselves.
While some members of the MMA community have voiced their disapproval with this Cejudo vs. Cruz fight, bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes doesn’t have an issue with the booking.
“To be honest with you, it bothered me less than seeing [Jose] Aldo get a title shot because Dominick Cruz has a story in the division,” Moraes told MMA Junkie. “Dominick Cruz won the belt, and he had so many problems with injuries. I’m a big fan of Dominick Cruz, too. I see him. I see the passion he has for the sport, and he just can’t get going. He just can’t stay healthy. He keeps getting hurt, and when you hear something like that, you can’t get mad, you know? I’m not mad at all, man.
“The guy deserves to fight. He’s one of the best ever to step into that octagon in the 135-pound division, and I heard Petr Yan couldn’t get a visa to fight. He was one of the options, too, so why not? Why not give it to Dominick Cruz? He’s such a big name. I think it’s good for the division to have him back, and hopefully he can stay healthy, but if he can’t stay healthy, man, give this guy one more opportunity. Let’s see what he can do.”
While Moraes isn’t opposed to this Cejudo vs. Cruz fight, he does have one gripe: he doesn’t think the bantamweight title has been up for grabs frequently enough. To refresh, Cejudo has not defended the title since he won it in a fight with Moraes in June of 2019.
“Sterling is there; Sandhagen is there, too,” Moraes told MMA Junkie. “Aldo is in the division. Frankie [Edgar] is coming to 135. I see all the tough guys in the division. Pedro Munhoz is a tough guy, too. There’s so many good guys. I see eight tough fights in the 135-pound division. We’ve just got to get the ball going. We’ve got to get the title on the line more times.”
What are your thoughts on the upcoming Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz fight? Do you share Marlon Moraes’ thoughts on the matter?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/27/2020.