Cruz joins Jon Jones as recent honorary pace car drivers
Dominick Cruz will get behind the wheel for NASCAR on Sunday.
The UFC’s bantamweight champ will act as an honorary pace car driver at the Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Speedway. The race airs at 2:30 p.m. Eastern on Fox, which at the start of 2012 entered into a seven-year broadcast agreement with the UFC.
Cruz becomes the second UFC champion in as many events to have honorary duties for NASCAR. Light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones had the same honors at last week’s Daytona 500 season opener. Next week’s NASCAR event is in Las Vegas, home base of the UFC, though there’s no word yet on the promotion going three for three to start the race organization’s season.
Cruz (19-1, 2-0 UFC) lives and trains in San Diego, but he is an Arizona native, hailing from Tucson, about two hours south of Phoenix. After the race, Cruz will head to Las Vegas, where he will serve as one of the coaches on the new season of “The Ultimate Fighter Live,” a new format for the popular reality competition. He will coach opposite longtime rival Urijah Faber, the first and only fighter to beat him, and in July the two will meet once again for Cruz’s bantamweight title.
“The Ultimate Fighter Live” debuts Friday with a two-and-a-half hour live premiere episode on the FX cable network. The season opener will feature 32 lightweight fighters meeting in 16 elimination bouts to get into the TUF house, where they will live and train for 12 weeks until the live season finale in June.