Saturday, November 26, 2022

Cruz Gives His Take On The Bantamweight GOAT Debate

Dominick Cruz has shared his thoughts on who stands as the greatest fighter in the division’s history.

The 37-year-old is coming off a brutal knockout loss to Marlon Vera in the main event of UFC San Diego in August. The former bantamweight king looked to be in control of the fight heading into the fourth round before being head kicked by “Chito”.

“The Dominator” had won back-to-back fights prior to his loss against Vera and is undoubtedly one of the greatest fighters in the history of the bantamweight division. Cruz became the UFC’s inaugural bantamweight champion in 2010 after the promotion absorbed the WEC, but a series of injures and a long layoff after his first two title defenses resulted in him having to relinquish the belt.

Cruz managed to persevere through the injuries and time away to reclaim the bantamweight title from T.J. Dillashaw in 2016. During an appearance on The MMA Hour, host Ariel Helwani asked for Cruz’s thoughts on the fact that Dillashaw recently declared himself the bantamweight GOAT.

“You know, I think — and I mean this — the people decide that, not the person,” Cruz said “If I’m over here saying, ‘I’m the greatest of all time,’ anybody can say that about themselves. History is made by the people, not by the person who does it. We’re gonna be remembered by what we’ve done and how we carried ourself during that time. Who we made a difference for. Who we made better around us. So, to me, that’s what matters, more than, ‘You’re the greatest of all time.’ That’s gonna be said by the people, I can’t decide that for myself.”

“I’ve Never Been In Trouble With USADA”

While being a two-time bantamweight champion is an impressive achievement for Dillashaw’s legacy, the 36-year-old’s achievements in the sport now come with a significant asterisk for some fans after he received a 2-year suspension from USADA for a positive drug test.

The former champion returned from the suspension with a split decision win over Cory Sandhagen in 2021 that set him up for a title shot against Aljamain Sterling in which he was defeated.

Although Cruz pointed to his own achievements and longevity as factors in the bantamweight GOAT discussion, “The Dominator” also seems to think the USADA suspension weighs heavily against Dillashaw.

Cruz won a split decision against Dillashaw in 2016. (Boston Globe)

“I believe that my results speak for themselves, and I’m still here competing at the highest level. Like I’ve said, I’ve been on the pound-for-pound list, I’ve all these things, but when it comes down to it, I’ve never been in trouble with USADA. If there’s anything you can look at that makes a difference, that makes a difference for other people. That doesn’t necessarily make a difference for me, because I come up in a sport that you never know, so you can’t hold onto it… but it’s like, what else you gotta say? That’s a difference-maker.”

What do you think of Cruz’s opinion on where he and Dillashaw stand in the bantamweight GOAT discussion?

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