by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
March 24, 2007, seems like so long ago.
Maybe not so long ago for WEC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz because that’s the one and only time the California based fighter has ever lost in his mixed martial arts career. On that night over three years ago, Cruz lost by submission to then WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber in his first crack at a major title.
Fast forward to 2010, Cruz is on top of the 135-pound weight class, and Faber has just recently announced his intention to drop down to the bantamweight division. The two fighters have never seemed to be short on words for one another, and much of it stems from some autograph posters.
Cruz and Faber were tapped to sign some posters for charity, and the now bantamweight champion signed his name over Faber’s face on the poster. It sparked a feud between the two. Faber felt it showed disrespect, but Cruz explains it was his way of letting people know who he is.
“The biggest thing that is never mentioned about that whole thing is that I wasn’t even put on that poster,” said Cruz. “I was fighting for a world title; my name was in the fine print at the bottom. I just felt disrespected myself. It had nothing to do with Urijah necessarily in that sense, but my way of being on the poster was to sign across his face. And guess what? I got on that poster. Everybody knew who I was after that.”
“The California Kid” has never been quiet when talking about Cruz in past interviews, and one of Faber’s best friends and closest teammates, Joseph Benavidez, faces Cruz for the bantamweight championship on Aug. 18.
For Cruz, however, his mind is not on Faber right now; his sole focus is on Benavidez. But if the fight happens down the road, it’s not something that Cruz will shy away from.
“It’s just the fact that he calls me out all the time, says all this and all that about me, that’s his prerogative. Not really what I’ve been doing, but I have no problem fighting Urijah when the time comes,” Cruz stated.
All in all, Cruz says adding Faber to the division is actually a very good thing because of his popularity.
“I think it’s great that he’s coming to the division,” Cruz told MMAWeekly Radio. “It means a lot of exposure to our division, it shows again that we have some of the best fighters in the world in the 135-pound division.”
The biggest factor for Cruz right now is the opponent that will stand across the cage from him on Aug. 18, trying to take his title. When and if the time comes to face Faber, he will gladly accept that fight, but now is not the time.
“Of course I’d welcome a fight against him,” Cruz said about Faber. “Right now I’m looking at Joseph Benavidez, plain and simple, that’s just the way it is. I haven’t even begun to think into that fight yet because there’s no reason to.”