Who is the Real Bantamweight Champ? Dominick Cruz vs. T.J. Dillashaw is Set to Find Out

September 28, 2014
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When former bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz tore an ACL, forcing him out of his scheduled UFC 148 trilogy against Urijah Faber in July 2012, he sat atop the mountain of 135-pound fighters in the world. Two surgeries and nearly three years later, the bantamweight division has moved on without Cruz.

On Saturday, the 29-year-old returned to the cage against top-five-ranked Takeya Mizugaki and demolished him in 61 seconds, earning a shot to reclaim the belt he once wore.

“Nobody does that to Mizugaki. Nobody. And he didn’t lose his belt fighting. He’s the unluckiest man on Earth. Yeah, he’s the guy,” said UFC president Dana White during the event’s post-fight press conference. Asked directly if Cruz will face Dillashaw next, White replied, “yeah.”

Cruz likes the way he matches up against current champion T.J. Dillashaw, who employs a similar fighting style. Cruz didn’t lose the belt to an opponent and wants to show he’s still the real Slim Shady.

“I think I match up great with anybody in the division. I have nothing but respect for everybody in the division, but I never really lost my title. I got hurt,” said the former champion. “And I haven’t been sitting around eating, getting fat and doing nothing. I’ve been working, and I’ve been analyzing fights, breaking them down, learning about everybody in the division, everybody’s style.”

SEE ALSO: Dominick Cruz: ‘I’m Ready to Have That Belt’ (UFC 178 Video)

Cruz looked to be back to his old form against Mizugaki, but he believes he’s returned better than he ever was.

“I’m far from the old Dominick. A lot of things are better. Nothing is worse. I’m ready to be back and I’m ready to have that belt,” he said.

“I haven’t just been sitting around. I’m ready to go out there and have that belt. I never lost it. It shouldn’t have gone in anyone else’s hands, but I was hurt,” added Cruz. “It was my own doing, so I just want to go prove that I’m still there.”

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  • Dragon Kid

    “It shouldn’t have gone in anyone else’s hands” …

    Yes it should, you weren’t around to defend it therefore a champion was needed in your place.

  • Get2DaChoppa

    Cruz looked great last night. The only negative was his jacked up haircut.

  • dandogood

    Cruz and Dillashaw are both good. The little dwarf Faber is the one who is disgusting and never wins any big fights.

    • RoBeRtOe

      You’re an idiot. Provide insight and back up opposed to uneducated vomit of the “keyboard.”

  • greaterworks

    Although he won in dominating fashion, I saw some awkwardness and slower speed while he was bouncing around in his usual footwork. Just didn’t look as fast and fluid as he was. Would love to see another tune up fight before fighting dillashaw for the belt. But all the best to him and he deserves it after beating the #5 guy.

  • michaelchimique

    well, considering everyone was complaining that Barao wasn’t named the champion for a while, I’d say when Dillishaw beat him he became the real champion. sorry if you can’t defend your belt you are not the champion anymore.

  • Pat Garret

    In all fairness UFC should of booked Cruz vs Barao fight. Winner goes on to fight for the belt.