Although he was rocked in the first round of his fight with top-ranked contender Pedro Munhoz, Cruz utilized his timing, speed and volume to take over the fight in the second and third frames, winning the match via unanimous decision.
The event took place on December 11, 2021, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Cruz is now 2-0 in 2021 and after the UFC’s official rankings updated on Tuesday, the inaugural UFC 135-pound champ surged to No. 7 in the division.
Speaking with the media after the fight, there were two names Cruz mentioned as a potential next opponent, former UFC featherweight king Jose Aldo and ex-two division UFC champ Henry Cejudo.
Cruz Wants to Rematch ‘Dork’ Cejudo
Cruz fought the latter in May 2020 when “Triple C” was the bantamweight champion, and he lost to the Olympian via second-round TKO. It’s a loss that Cruz disputed right after the fact, saying that referee Keith Peterson stopped the fight prematurely.
That, coupled with UFC 249 being the first fight back after the start of the pandemic, Cruz wants to run things back with Cejudo.
“I’d definitely prefer to fight Cejudo again,” Cruz said via MMA Mania. “That didn’t do well with me with the way that — like I said, one second (left) on the clock. I needed more time to get going. I don’t want to make excuses, it was in the pandemic, you had no training partners, I took that on short notice.
“He had a full camp for Aldo — I vied for that,” Cruz said. “I pushed for that fight. Aldo got shut out of the country because of the pandemic. He was supposed to have that fight, so they were training for 12 weeks, 10 weeks before that fight. I got like five weeks. I sparred, I think, 10 times before that fight after shoulder reconstructive surgery. Not an excuse, but I know I can show up better. How I showed up tonight, this version of me is with all the sparring rounds that I need me training the way I know I can and the way I know I need to, and that’s a different fight with him. Don’t get me wrong, the guy’s an Olympian. He knows how to fight. Still a little dork, though.”
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Cejudo Responded to Cruz’s Challenge
After he got his hand raised at UFC 249, Triple C announced his retirement from the sport. Since then, however, Cejudo has been campaigning to fight 145-pound champion Alexander Volkanovski for the belt.
During the most recent episode of Cejudo’s “The Triple C & Schmo Show,” the former bantamweight and flyweight champ responded to Cruz’s post-fight comments.
“Dude, Dominick Cruz, man, take it in the chin just how my knee hit your damn chin,” Cejudo said via MMA Junkie. “Jesus, man, you absolutely make me sick. This is why we need referees. It’s not like, ‘Oh, let me get beat up, but let me see if these referees, you know, give me the benefit of the doubt.’ Like, no. You put yourself there, you put your face on my knee, and I made you bend the knee. There was 13 unanswered shots. Re-watch it, dude. I literally woke you up.”
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