For Dominick Cruz, UFC 132 was his chance to show the world what kind of fighter he really is.
Going into the night, Cruz was a favorite among the sportsbooks in his fight against Urijah Faber, but wasn’t getting many cheers from the fans in attendance.
Facing a fan favorite in Faber, Cruz received mostly boos from the Las Vegas crowd, but by the end of the night, love him or hate him, everyone in attendance had to respect his performance.
When it was over, Cruz won a unanimous decision over his rival, and while he points out that he and Faber probably won’t be exchanging Christmas cards anytime soon, the bad blood can be put to rest.
“I think me and Faber are both very, very competitive human beings and that’s a lot of the reason why things got blown up so much,” Cruz explained when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio. “It comes down to business, and going out there and doing what we know we can do, and proving who is the bigger guy on the block. This time around it was me, last time around it was him, and it’s just all about going out there and doing a job.
“Me and Urjiah aren’t going to be best friends, but we don’t hate each other. We don’t wish each other ill will. We are just very competitive human beings.”
With two fights in the books between Cruz and Faber, it would seem logical at some point down the road that there could be a rubber match between the fighters. The UFC’s reigning bantamweight champion is happy to give Faber another shot if that’s what the promotion wants.
“I’m never going to shut down fights, I don’t choose fights I never have,” said Cruz. “I’ve never chosen one of my fights ever. So if that’s what the fans want, if that’s what Dana (White) wants, I’m the champion and part of being the champ is just taking the fights that are given to you. If that’s what’s given to me, that’s what’s given to me, let’s do it.”
While Faber may earn another shot down the road, it’s assured he won’t be the next fighter in line to get a shot at Cruz’s belt.
That distinction will likely fall in the path of either former champion Brian Bowles or fighter-on-the-rise Demetrious Johnson, who recently picked up a win over former 135-pound titleholder Miguel Torres.
One fight that won’t be on Cruz’s agenda right now is a fight against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Following his win on Saturday, Cruz said that if the money was right he’d be more than happy to face the top fighter on the planet in the next weight class up.
In his mind right now however, Cruz wants to not only be known as the best at 135 pounds, but he wants to clean out the division.
“Most exciting is just to hold down this 135-pound weight class, to be honest. I don’t think that I’ve done enough in this weight class to start hopping around and do all this other stuff,” said Cruz.
“I think I need to defend my title a few more times. I want to make a statement and control this weight class, and know that nobody here can beat me. I want everybody to know that and understand it.”
If the title fights go accordingly, Cruz isn’t shut off to the idea of moving up a weight class and trying his hand at featherweight again, but it’s still a ways off.
“I think one or two more title defenses would be awesome at 135 pounds,” Cruz stated. “That’s my ideal weight class, but like I said, I go where the money’s at, and I go where Dana wants me.”
As far as his next title defense at bantamweight, whether it’s Brian Bowles or Demetrious Johnson, it doesn’t matter much to Cruz. His motto is line them up and he’ll knock them down.
“I’m here to give the fans a show, plain and simple,” Cruz said. “That’s what it’s about and that’s what this next match-up is going to be about as well.”