“I could out-wrestle Dominick Cruz in my sleep.”
Scott Jorgensen is getting tired of hearing about the wrestling ability of WEC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, the man he’ll face in the penultimate bout in the company’s history on Thursday night.
A former standout at Boise State, the three-time Pac-10 champion wants to set the record straight about which 135-pound fighter has the superior wrestling heading into the last bantamweight title fight under the WEC banner.
“You know, first off, Dominick’s wrestling pedigree is nowhere near mine,” blurted out the 11-3 challenger when he spoke with Heavy.com. “I am heads above that kid; I could out-wrestle him in my sleep. For people to think that his wrestling is where mine is because he hits a couple knee-taps on a few guys is beyond me.
“I wrestled with the best in the world, and train with some of the best in the world,” Jorgensen continued, running off the partners he’s enlisted in preparation for this bout for the bantamweight title, including Bellator champ Joe Warren and the current collection of Broncos wrestlers from his alma mater. “He’s not a better wrestler than me and for everybody to think that is ludicrous. It drives me nuts. It makes me want to go out there and prove that fact even more. Let him shoot on me; I’ll stop his shot and take him down.”
Truthfully, it isn’t just the attention Cruz’s wrestling is receiving that has Jorgensen in a feisty frame of mind heading into their meeting.
Over the course of his emergence as the top bantamweight in the sport over the last year, a great deal of praise has been offered to Cruz and the frenetic footwork he uses in the striking game, hopping in and out at odd angles in a style that has stymied the likes of Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez in the process. Jorgensen isn’t all that concerned.
“As far as his striking goes, it’s just another style that I have to shut down, you know? He moves a lot, so what?” said the 28-year-old #1 contender. “So did Antonio Banuelos. Cruz throws from awkward angles. He avoids the fight; he runs, he backs up until he can move forward and get someone else backing up.
“His style is very predictable; it’s hard to time if you don’t know what you’re looking at, but I think I’ve got the best striking coach in MMA in Kit Cope, and he’s tailor-made my style to fight guys. Whoever it is, I fight my style; I don’t have to adapt and change. We stick to my style, my pressure and my strengths.”
That game plan has produced five-straight victories for Jorgensen since October 2009. Along the way, he’s scored a unanimous decision win over gritty Japanese fighter Takeya Mizugaki, lifted Chad George off his feet with a standing guillotine choke, and avenged his most recent loss in out-pointing the aforementioned Banuelos.
Now he stands days away from a title shot and a move to the UFC, and while the opportunity is something Jorgensen looks forward to, he won’t allow himself to get caught up in the moment.
“This is somewhere I knew I would be at when I first started fighting and especially at the beginning of this year. It’s surreal and it’s nice and all to be fighting for a title, but I’ve got something ahead of me that is no different than anything I’ve done over the last year, which is just another fight.
“For me, it’s always just a fight; it doesn’t matter which TV station it’s on, whether it’s pay-per-view or how many people are going to be there. I go out there to have fun and accomplish what I came to do, and that’s get a victory every time I step into that cage. I get very one-track minded and it keeps me focused.
“With this fight, there’s a belt, a UFC championship, the fulfillment of a life-long dream, all these huge expectations and all this stuff, but it all fades away when I sit back and look at it. It’s just a fight. It doesn’t matter; the belt doesn’t determine the outcome of the fight. What matters is how I go in there and accomplish what I set out to do, and that’s get a victory.”
The drive to be the best in the division is clear when you speak to Jorgensen, and it extends beyond this week’s meeting with Cruz. While he’s solely focused on beating Cruz on Thursday, the fighter known for his flaming red “warhawk” and endless gas tank has one mission in mind when he steps into the cage, no matter who the opponent or what the stakes.
“My goal is to beat every single person at my weight –every one of them, friends or not. I want to be the best, and there is no way to do that without fighting and beating everyone in that division, and it started five fights ago after I lost to Antonio Banuelos. I’ve come back and stomped the division, and next up is Dominick Cruz. After that, I’ll let the WEC figure it out.
“I’ve got one thing in mind right now, and that is to fight Dominick and hurt him. I hurt him by putting my hands on him, taking him down, slamming him, elbowing him, making him bleed, grinding him out and breaking his heart.”