33-Year-Old UFC Bantamweight 22-2-0
November 8, 2017 Dominick Cruz News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Cruz has withdrawn from his bantamweight fight against Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 due to a broken arm, Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com reports.
This is another tough break for the oft-injured 32-year-old. Cruz was looking to bounce back from his title defeat to Cody Garbandt at UFC 207 last December, but his return to the Octagon will have to wait a little while longer. It's unclear if the UFC will keep Rivera on the card at this point.
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Fantasy AnalysisThis will be Cruz's first fight since he lost a lopsided decision to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 last December. Cruz is one of the most accomplished and technical bantamweights to ever grace the Octagon, but injuries have kept him on the sidelines for the better part of the last few years. The 32-year-old is 22-2 in his career and has never been knocked out in a professional fight. His opponent, Rivera, is on a 20-fight winning streak and has won his last three fights by unanimous decision against the likes of Thomas Almeida, Urijah Faber, and Iuri Alcantara. The two may be far apart in terms of momentum, but it's tough to bet against Cruz, even coming off a loss.
Fantasy AnalysisNever have we seen Cruz take so much punishment, nor have we seen him struggle to close the distance as much as he did on Friday. His footwork was as sharp as ever, but he couldn't come close to matching the head or hand speed of Garbrandt. Cruz may have won Round 2, but he really had no other noticeable moments over the course of the fight. A gigantic cut was opened up over Cruz's left eye early in the second frame after an accidental clash of heads, although that didn't appear to have any bearing on the end result. Cruz rarely gets hit, but he showed off a world-class chin in this fight. He appeared to be out cold after eating a huge shot from the challenger in Round 4, but he somehow sat right back up as if he was The Undertaker. Dominick appeared healthy and confident, but he was walloped in what was essentially a 25-minute kickboxing match. To sum things up - it was the exact opposite of pretty much every Dominick Cruz fight that we have seen over the course of his career. One of the most intense and dedicated competitors in the sport, Cruz will be back.
Fantasy AnalysisCruz has faced and defeated every challenge that has come his way for nearly a decade, but the biggest obstacle has been his health. Following his recovery from 2015 knee surgery, Cruz defeated T.J. Dillashaw for the UFC Bantamweight Championship, and successfully defended his belt against Urijah Faber to avenge his only professional loss (back in 2007). "The Dominator" brings tremendous speed and footwork into the Octagon, which could give Garbrandt fits when attempting to land his power shots. Garbrandt is 10-0 with nine knockouts, but he has never faced an opponent with anywhere close to the level of technique and discipline as the current champion.
Fantasy AnalysisCruz once again proved that he is hands down one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Even with a foot that appeared to be giving him trouble, Cruz easily was able to slide out of the way of virtually every strike that Faber threw is way. Faber is known for his speed and quickness, but the difference between the two fighters was stark. Demetrious Johnson is the only fighter on the UFC roster who can come close to matching the footwork of Cruz. Cruz didn't seem particularly pleased with his performance, but it was a thorough beating over 25 minutes. You can count the number of fighters in the world who have the athletic ability of Cruz on one hand. As long as he can remain healthy moving forward, and that's a big if, he could remain champion for a long, long time.
Fantasy AnalysisCruz's brilliant performance to defeat T.J. Dillashaw to win the UFC Bantamweight Championship in January should have come as a surprise to no one. He is legitimately a top-five pound-for-pound fighter for as long as he is able to stay healthy. That hasn't been often (Cruz has fought just twice since October 2011), but he is 100 percent healthy at the moment. Cruz and Faber have split their first two career meetings, but Cruz appears to have far more left in the gas tank at this point. He is six-years younger and although he hasn't fought much recently, Cruz is fanatical about his training and the fact he has less miles on his body actually works in his advantage. The UFC's 135-pound division is stacked, but Cruz has the talent and the ability to hang onto his title for a long time. The only question is can he remain healthy?
Fantasy AnalysisCruz defied all odds in one of the greatest comeback stories ever in the UFC. Three ACL repairs, a torn groin and nearly a 16-month layoff couldn't stop Cruz from coming out on top. Cruz stated after the fight that rust doesn't exist if you train hard enough, and he certainly proved that here. The two exchanged blows at lightning speed throughout the entire fight, making it incredibly difficult to decide each round. Dillashaw certainly threw more strikes, and may have had more momentum in the end, but Cruz landed some equally-damaging blows and perhaps didn't seem as phased by the damage. UFC fans around the world certainly deserve to see a rematch of this one at some point down the road.
Fantasy AnalysisNot ten minutes after it was reported on UFC Tonight that Cruz, who is recovering from knee surgery, had been fully cleared to train and was hoping to return in early 2016, he has a title fight announced. Cruz has had more injuries in his career than we have time to recap, but he is legitimately one of the best fighters in the world when he's healthy. Cross your fingers that this matchup ends up happening. It has a chance to be special.
Fantasy AnalysisCruz is coming off a torn ACL. The oft-injured bantamweight hasn't fought since September of last year. Despite the lack of activity, it certainly would not be a surprise to see Cruz get the next title shot against current UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. We can only hope.