Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Dominick Cruz Takes Inspiration From Muhammad Ali Ahead Of UFC 249

Dominick Cruz explains how he’s taken inspiration from the late and great Muhammad Ali.

Cruz is set to challenge Henry Cejudo for the UFC bantamweight championship on Saturday (May 9). While coming back from a long layoff isn’t new to Cruz, this time he’s coming off just his second pro MMA loss. “The Dominator” has been away from the Octagon since Dec. 2016.

Cruz Reveals How Muhammad Ali Inspires Him

Muhammad Ali left a profound impact on not just boxers but MMA fighters as well. The man born Cassius Clay left a legacy with his personality and stunning skills inside the boxing ring. Many fighters have aspired to like Ali. Often imitated, never duplicated.

During the UFC 249 media call, Cruz explained how Ali has left an impact on him (via MMAFighting.com).

“The leader that made a difference for me in this way is Muhammad Ali. He was willing to give up the belt, possibly go to prison for five years to stand for what he saw as world peace,” Cruz said, referencing Ali’s stance to refuse to enter the military draft during the Vietnam War. “That put me in the question of what’s my purpose in all of my accomplishments here?

“Realistically, it’s to make a difference and stand for everybody who thinks that they’re not a champion and regardless of what everybody say, regardless of what everybody’s credentials are, none of that matters if you believe and if you want it and you have a bigger purpose than yourself, than just what you have just holding up your belts to everybody and saying I’m better than you cause I have this thing. How about every single person out there gets to be that if they choose it, whenever they want? I’m going to stand for that after a three-year layoff again when everybody says ring rust exists and it actually doesn’t. It’s all in your head.”

UFC 249 (see weigh-in results here) will take place inside the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. There will be no fans in attendance. In the main event, Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje will collide for the interim UFC lightweight title.

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