"I'm truly happy this fight is finally going to happen," he said.
"With all the media around it, it just really makes me happy to see that people recognize us."
Not that the Brazilian feels he still has to prove that he's the rightful bantamweight king, or anything.
"I personally feel like that I’ve been a champion, not just now, but for some time," Barao said.
"This is just a chance to unify the belts and show everybody what I can do, and keep these belts for a while."
“Dana gets a ton of questions about every fighter in the UFC,” explains Dominick. “What he's trying to say is that my knee is fine. I've had the time I need to prepare so ring rust won't be an issue and my knee's not going to be an issue”
On the subject of fights, the 19-1 135lb'er is clearly happy to finally be back in the workings of UFC competition and, after touching on his next opponent, saying, “I respect [Barao] because he's been respectful of me,” Cruz can't help but make a jab towards long-time foe Urijah Faber.
“That person is like a nail in a tyre,” rails the reigning UFC champ. “If you pull it out everything just goes flat. You gotta have it in their long enough until you can deal with it. So, the nail will stay and he's gonna get a beating.”
When asked if he thinks a third fight between himself and 'The California Kid will take place, Cruz doesn't seem at all perturbed by the thought. In fact, he seems very open to it: “Probably, I can't see where else it would go.”
It seems Cruz now has another name to add to his list of enemies as, in a recent interview, he made some comments which apparently angered his former UFC colleague Tito Ortiz. Ortiz took to Twitter to let Dominick know exactly how he felt and, in this interview, Cruz gave his explanation of the situation.
“Long story short, we were talking about Bellator, Mike Chandler's fight with Alvarez and then they were asking me about Dana White and how it is being around Dana White and I said, 'Being around Dana White is like having a friend that can yell at you.... You deal with it. It is what it is...
“And they said, 'So you don't get all mad and upset?' And I said, 'No, you see what happened when Tito did that. It didn't work out very well. It created a lot of problems for him and his business with the UFC.' I think that's what he got upset about.”
Despite having upset the UFC Hall of Famer, Dominick feels his words were simply misunderstood by Ortiz and is sticking to his guns. “I feel like that was truth... I didn't feel like I said anything out of line.”
Dominick Cruz is set to fight Renan Barao to unify the UFC bantamweight and interim bantamweight championships at UFC 169 on February 1st.