For the second time in two years, former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz suffered a stoppage loss, something that came by rarely in his earlier years. It happened at UFC San Diego in August, where he was knocked out by Marlon Vera with a head kick in the fourth round.
Yet, despite this career setback, the 37-year-old Cruz refuses to entertain retirement talk. When Ariel Helwani asked about it in his recent appearance on The MMA Hour, “The Dominator” had this to say:
“Right now, it’s been a month-and-a-half. I’m running again, I’ve been lifting, getting the body strong. I’m still top-10 level. I don’t look at myself after that loss and go, ‘I’m not there anymore.’ I do the opposite. I go, alright, speed’s still there, power’s still there, all this stuff’s still there. We’ve just got to tighten up some defense,” he said.
“You either retire, or you lose, and those are your choices. I think a lot of people who retire, they didn’t lose because they retired. You can just keep going, but there’s a point where you’re just going to stack up too many losses because you’re not there anymore.
“I don’t really look at my last fight and go, ‘Ah, you’re not really at the level, these guys are just outclassing you.’ It wasn’t really that. So, just take my team, fix the fundamentals, and take it a day at a time. Get my body strong, and just train and love training.”
Cruz also remains satisfied with his performance against “Chito” despite the outcome.
“I think I change nothing. I can’t change anything. That’s who I am. My hand was even up when I got caught. I was defending myself. But this is a game of inches.
“I hit him, and I was winning for three rounds, and I could have dropped him any of those times, he could have dropped me any of those times. It happened when it happened.
“When you look at the analysis, all you can do is make your own adjustments and control the controllables. I can’t control the uncontrollables, and the uncontrollables are the other person. So I focus on me, and fundamentals are something I can add. … Just add a little bit more for a longer pace. …
“It was a nice read, and that’s how it goes. I’ve made nice reads and embarrassed people, and that’s happened to me now, too.”
On Saturday, Cruz was called out by Jonathan Martinez when the latter defeated Cub Swanson via leg kick TKO. For that, he has this response.
“What a sweetheart of a f–ng guy — let’s be honest, the nicest guy on earth, calling me out, and it makes sense,” said Cruz, who was at the broadcast booth at the time. “Do you want to fight a guy that’s got 300 followers and is lethal, or do you want to fight a guy who’s been doing this for a long time and is also lethal, but either way, you’re facing two dangerous guys — one guy is a former champ, one guy is nasty, not a former champ. Who you going to call out?
“People are going to keep calling me out. I understand that. I can’t knock him. All I can do is there with my microphone and my suit and go, ‘Thank you, appreciate the callout, respect.’ What, are you supposed to say, be mad? It’s a business. I get it. It’s a business move, and it’s a little weird when you’re standing there.”
Cruz currently holds a record of 24-4.
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