Cruz was in action for the second time in 2021 this past weekend. After rebounding from his return loss against Henry Cejudo with a split decision victory over Casey Kenney at UFC 259 in March, “The Dominator” hoped to end the year by moving further up the rankings and setting himself on a win streak with a triumph over Pedro Munhoz.
With a classic Cruz performance, he accomplished both at UFC 269. After recovering from an early knockdown, the top-10 contender composed himself and entered the flow that’s brought him so much success across his illustrious career. After three rounds of action inside Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, Cruz was awarded a unanimous decision win.
Cruz: “I’m Going Up Towards The Title”
Having gotten past the #8-ranked bantamweight, Cruz will now be looking to fight up the rankings yet again as his pursuit for a third dose of UFC title success goes on. One name that interests many fans is José Aldo. Like Cruz, “Junior” is a former champion and a legend of the sport.
The Brazilian was in action last weekend in the UFC Vegas 44 main event. Against top contender Rob Font, Aldo proved he’s capable of a surge back to the top with a five-round decision victory. His latest success followed wins against Munhoz and Marlon “Chito” Vera. Having risen to #3 on the bantamweight ladder, Aldo is targeting a title eliminator against TJ Dillashaw next.
Given Aldo’s position in the rankings, it’s perhaps not surprising that Cruz would be more than willing to clash with the fellow legend. During the UFC 269 post-fight press conference, “The Dominator” said he certainly wouldn’t turn down a clash with the 35-year-old.
“Yeah I mean, I’m not gonna say no to a Aldo fight, just because, you know, that moves me closer to the title. Aldo’s a legend in the sport. I have nothing but respect for all these guys. So, I’m trying to go, you know, I’m going up towards the title… I’m not gonna say no to anything.”
It appears much more likely Cruz could be matched up with Aldo’s latest beaten foe Font over the in-form Brazilian. If he’s to fight up the rankings, the former champ’s potential options are limited to either Font, Merab Dvalishvili, Cory Sandhagen or a rematch with Cody Garbrandt, who unsuccessfully tested the flyweight waters this past weekend.
Either way, it’ll be intriguing to see how Cruz fares against some of the top-ranked opponents in the division. If he could get past Font or Sandhagen, Cruz’s name would firmly arrive in the title conversation.
Who would you like to see Dominick Cruz face next?