Dominick Cruz on Renan Barao: “I Can Trick Him Out In A Lot of Different Ways”

September 23, 2013
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Dominick Cruz

UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has been in physical exile for the past two years due to consecutive knee surgeries while interim bantamweight titleholder Renan Barao has ruled his kingdom.

The landscape of the division has changed during the time Cruz has been sidelined.  Barao was crowned the interim champion and has defended his title twice.

Cruz is on track to return to action in early 2014 and face Barao to determine the true bantamweight champion.  And Cruz isn’t concerned with potential ring rust arising from 24 months of inactivity.

“I’m a mixed martial artist.  I can fight with him anywhere,” Cruz said during the UFC 165 Post Show on Fox Sports 2.

“I look at it as a chess match, literally.  Renan Barao plays chess when he’s in there.  I play chess when I’m there,” sad the bantamweight champion.

Cruz sees Barao as the best fighter competing in the 135-pound division aside from him.  He realizes Barao’s 30-fight winning streak is no fluke and speaks highly of the interim titleholder.

“The most impressive part about Barao is the way that he mixes things up.  He’s constantly shooting, kneeing up the middle, left hook, straight right hand and spinning back kicks,” said Cruz.

“My favorite thing that he does is he’ll throw the right hand and he’ll throw the left hook just to see you react,” explained Cruz.

“If he keeps landing the right hand than you don’t want to circle into the power of the right hand.  So what does he do?  When you go to the weak side he throws a spinning back kick.  So now you have two power shots that he can land going right or left if you’re trying to defend against Renan Barao’s offense,” he added.

Barao’s success has motivated to Cruz to come back and claim what he feels is rightfully his.

“Barao mixes it up better than anybody in the division.,” he said.  “That’s what I’m looking forward to fighting.  I’m looking forward fighting a guy that mixes things up from head to toe, whether it be wrestling, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, boxing,” he added.  “I’m ready for that.  I will be ready for that, and I cannot wait.”

“I think that can challenge that,” continued Cruz.  “I know that I can beat him.  I know that I have the tools to challenge him and really trick him out in a lot of different ways with the things that I do in a fight.”

The 28-year-old athlete hasn’t’ been medically cleared to fully train, but  expects a medical clearance in the coming weeks.

“I will be cleared, and I will fight, and when I fight I will be fighting Renan Barao,” he said.

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  • Kenny Powers

    Hahahaha, good luck Decisionator! You’re gonna need it! Barao by anything he wants, 1st round.

  • Mark McDowall

    Ring rust alone is enough to give Barao the win in this fight. I think Cruz could come back and compete for the title but I don’t think straight off of injury he can beat Barao.

    • Kenny Powers

      Yup, no way can u compete w/ Barao coming off a lay off like that, he’s too sharp. Even if Cruz was a 100%, i just see too many ways for Barao to win. He’s too fast and smart to get picked apart by Dom’s boxing & footwork, and he’s just a tougher person all around. The only thing Cruz might have is the cardio, but we’ll see.

  • Kkern

    Barao is gonna kill him, idc how good Cruz is or what he says. Barao is going to wreck him.

    • Sir_Roy

      Not caring about what he says, I can understand. But just how good Cruz is (or is not), regardless whether you care (or not), has a direct impact on whether or not Barao can, as you put it, “wreck him”. Just saying.

  • Flock of Burgers

    Trick him out? Does Cruz think he’s a pimp now?

  • Lucas Freire

    I admire Dominick’s boxing and footwork, but I really don’t think he has the tools to defeat Barao.
    Barao already proved having an iron chin against McDonald and Wineland, Dominick doesn’t have that kind of power to KO him. Barao must be the greatest grappler on the division( I know I may be forgetting someone). And as Dominick said, he mix it up just perfectly. I see Barao as a mini-GSP, that knocks people out. lol
    I think this lower divisions should be much more appreciated, in my opinion it’s just way harder to fight at this rapid pace and be capable of dishing out damage, they have to mix it up much better than on any other division given how quick they are.
    You can dislike the lack of KO’s, but Mighty Mouse, Dodson, Barao…these guys have the best mix, along with GSP, in my opinion.

  • SirT

    I think all of you are majorly underestimating Cruz, Barao needs to be able to make contact to win… If the injury didn’t absolutely destroy Cruz’s cardio and style then I don’t see Barao taking it. Barao might be a better fighter, but Cruz is one hell of a winner.

    • shakejunt

      at least someone here isn’t speaking on pure bias.

      • Ian Price

        I have it -150 Cruz. Cruz will outpoint and out cardio Barao. If the fight had no time limit, Cruz would still win. Dominator is not going to stand there in front of Barao like Wineland did.

    • I guess we’ll see, he’s coming off a long lay off and hopefully he is fully healed and mentally has the confidence to go full out…also let’s hope he isn’t rushing back due to threat of being stripped of the title…it should be a good fight and bring interest to the 135lb division since there are a lot of questions to be answered

    • cell989

      I still think its unfair for the UFC to hold off that belt for so long, there should be a new policy that if you cant defend the belt in 8 months or so, you need to forfeit it. Barao cant get the satisfaction of been a UFC champ because tragically Cruz has been going through terrible injuries. I just dont see how thats fair, Renan is in his prime and its like theyre holding him back

  • Pat Garret

    Cruz, title should of been stripped after one year of inactivity . Also when he was healthy and fighting, he was one of the most boring fighters to watch, imo

  • tyrone

    Cruz can feint him and strike him.

  • Oswald Cobblepott

    It’s not a magic show

  • robc

    He’s going to make like Clay Guida and dry hump Barao to victory? Just what we need, another champion that uses wrestling to smother an opponent to victory (GSP…. cough cough).

  • Matthew Stone

    I think he should have a tune up fight before defending his title if possible! 2 years off and then fighting someone like Barao is going to be tough! Barao is going to be hard to beat! I know GSP did it against Conduit but he was quite superior in one area, his wrestling where I don’t think Cruz is superior in any one area.

  • Silver Surfer

    Respect for Renan..He deserves the real belt.

  • Derek

    he only could dance around then waitting for descison