Cruz challenged Cejudo for the UFC bantamweight championship last night (May 9). This was Cruz’s first bout since Dec. 2016 when he lost the 135-pound title to Cody Garbrandt. It was clear early on that Cruz struggled with Cejudo’s leg kicks. While “The Dominator” looked a bit sharper in the second round, he ate a knee that dropped him. Some ground-and-pound led to referee Keith Peterson stopping the fight. Cruz protested the stoppage and was visibly upset with Peterson.
Dominick Cruz Hurls Nasty Dig At Referee
Cruz spoke to Megan Olivi after he had a chance to cool down. Despite letting time pass, Cruz remained hot at Peterson and even made quite the claim (h/t MMAJunkie.com).
“That was an early stoppage, 100 percent – I’m positive of it,” Cruz said on the UFC 249 post-fight show on ESPN. “I wish there was a way to keep these refs a little more responsible sometimes. The guy smelled like alcohol and cigarettes, so who knows what he was doing. Definitely (he did). I wish they drug tested them. I know Herb Dean is good. He’s one of the best refs. I immediately when I saw that ref I was like, ‘Man, is there a way to veto a ref and get a new one?’ I wonder that.”
Cruz remains winless since June 2016. When asked about Cruz’s future during the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White said that decision is ultimately up to “The Dominator.” This is the first TKO loss in Cruz’s career. It’s also the first time he’s been finished since March 2007.
Whether or not Cruz decides to go back to the drawing board remains to be seen. With Cejudo announcing his retirement after the fight, it could open the door for yet another title opportunity for Cruz down the line.