The world awaits the return of Dominick Cruz

Dominick Cruz
Dominick Cruz

With TJ Dillashaw schooling Renan Barao on Saturday night, there is only one question left to answer. Will Dominick Cruz get fit?

Last Saturday night TJ Dillashaw proved to a lot of  doubters that he is the worthy UFC Bantamweight Champion of the World. He did so by knocking out former dominant champion Renan Barao, for the second time.

There’s not a lot left for the Team Alpha Male star to prove. He has taken out everyone in front of him, and done so in refreshing spectacular fashion.  But there’s one question that remains, and that question comes in the form of Dominick Cruz.

A 3 time UFC Champion,  lengthily layoffs with knee injuries have hurt the career of the man who was destined to break every record in the book.  

Upon Cruz’s return to the UFC in 2014 after a 3 years absence, he dismantled Takeya Mizugaki in the 1st round. Since then another injury has kept him on the sidelines, but the man has maintained hope, and firmly believes that he has what it takes to beat Dillashaw.

Speaking of his fight with Renan Barao, Cruz told the MMA Hour:

“No, I don't see that. He can still be very successful. I think that the sport is evolving and guys that aren't choosing to evolve with the sport are getting beaten. I never thought Barao was as good as everybody said he was.

"But, I couldn't say that because I've been on the sidelines. And Dana White was preaching about him like he was the next Jesus in coming. So, you just got to hear what Dana says and let him say what he wants about people to build the 135-pound division.

"With me gone, let's face it, they needed to build anybody they could in that slot. Barao was the guy that needed to be built because I wasn't there. And when T.J. came up, now he's the guy that needs to get built up because I am not there.

"That being said, the division has just been trying to strive and build with me gone. Now that I'm coming back, it can get back on its feet again. That's the truth."

The styles of Cruz and Dillashaw are often compared and deemed similar -- both like to use great footwork and feints to get the job done. According to Cruz, though, they are nothing alike, and went out of his way to dub Dillashaw nothing but a "wannabe."

"I see absolutely no similarities in my fighting style and T.J. Dillishaw's. The reason I say that is we do different things. He's switching stances and I'm not. I am doing something totally different that nobody understands.

"You can listen to my fights commentary from years ago, and what I was doing was awkward, herky jerky, never seen before. It was just weird. I got this weird style that doesn't make sense.

"Now four years later, the game is changed in the last four years. Now you hear commentary on T.J. Dillishaw that he is moving his feet, using feints switching his stance and instead of it being awkward and weird, it's beautiful to everybody else.

"So, the point is, the sport is evolving and people are starting to see the use of switch stances, the use of feints, angles and moving your feet and making people miss. That happened in the last four years since I have been out.

"Now, my style is being appreciated. When I go out there, people will see that T.J. Dillashaw is nothing but a wannabe and I look forward to going out there and proving that I am the best in the world. I'm in an extremely awkward position where you can only talk so much and only be so confident on the outside where people are going to listen to you when you can't go out there and compete.

"So there is only so much I can really say because I have to sit on my words right now. I have to sit on my hands because I'm injured. That's all you here on Twitter: 'Keep talking Dominick as you sit on the sidelines.'

"So that's what the public is thinking when I talk. So I'm careful with the words I choose because I can't go in there and compete quite yet. Dillishaw is out there competing, so kudos to him for staying healthy and keeping the division rolling.

"But, when I come back, the real fights are going to get started and people are going to see what this division is capable of with me as the champion."

The return of Dominick Cruz will be a return worth savouring.  Be it January or February, Dillashaw better start preparing.

Ross Murphy