UFC bantamweight legend Urijah Faber believes the referee stopped the Dominick Cruz vs. Henry Cejudo fight at UFC 249 too soon.
Cejudo dropped Cruz with a knee and then followed it up with a barrage of punches which led to referee Keith Peterson stepping in and waving off the contest. Immediately following the stoppage Cruz protested it, saying that he was fine and that Peterson stopped it too early. After the event, Cruz accused Peterson of using “alcohol and cigarettes” prior to reffing the fight.
Speaking to reporters at UFC Florida where he was cornering Team Alpha Male pupil Song Yadong, Faber was asked what he thought about the stoppage featuring one of his biggest all-time rivals. Here’s what Faber said (via Bloody Elbow).
“The referees are in there to do their job and save guys from taking too much damage. But at the end of the day, especially in world championship fights when you’re dealing with guys that are future Hall-of-Famers and multiple-time world champions, we want to remove all doubt. We want to know, like, ‘I had no more chance,'” Faber said.
“So I feel for him on that. I feel like he could’ve still had a chance, and that’s always the part that irks you. So I can understand his frustration.”
Considering their long-time rivalry, it’s a bit surprising to hear Faber come to the defense of Cruz. Then again, despite being rivals for the better part of a decade, there is an immense amount of respect between Cruz and Faber considering all the minutes they have shared in the WEC cage and UFC Octagon.
In fact, Faber said he was impressed with Cruz’s showing against Cejudo despite the second-round TKO loss.
“I thought he looked good. You never know how people are aging, everybody’s different, but he’s got a style that lends to a long career,” Faber said.
Do you agree with Urijah Faber?