On May 9, Cruz challenged UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo. The 135-pound title bout served as the UFC 249 co-main event. In the second round, Cruz was dropped from a knee to the jaw. Following some ground-and-pound from Cejudo, referee Keith Peterson stopped the fight. Cruz protested after the fight and accused Peterson of smelling like alcohol and cigarettes.
Faber Disagrees With Cejudo-Cruz Stoppage
Speaking to reporters backstage at UFC on ESPN 8, Faber expressed his belief that Cruz should’ve been given more of a chance to get back in the fight (via Bloody Elbow).
“The referees are in there to do their job and save guys from taking too much damage,” he said. “But at the end of the day, especially in world championship fights when you’re dealing with guys that are future Hall-of-Famers and multiple-time world champions, we want to remove all doubt. We want to know, like, ‘I had no more chance.’
“So I feel for him on that,” Faber said, showing sympathy for Cruz. “I feel like he could’ve still had a chance, and that’s always the part that irks you. So I can understand his frustration.”
Faber and Cruz had a heated rivalry during the primes of their careers. After Faber’s first retirement, the two buried the hatchet. Cruz’s last win was back in June 2016 and it was the trilogy bout with Faber.