In the aftermath of Dominick Cruz reclaiming the bantamweight title from TJ Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 81 on Sunday night, Urijah Faber was quick to let it be known that he want to settle unfinished business with the champion, but he’s not the only one who’s keen to fight ‘The Dominator’.
“You’ve got to give it to [Cruz], what a journey he’s been on,” Faber said on FOX Sports 1. “He’s a real champion; he’s a true champion. He’s only lost to one team, that’s Team Alpha Male. He’s only lost to one guy and that’s me. I feel like I beat him the second time also.
“I connected to his chin. I know he feels like he’s hard to hit. I found his chin, his butt found the ground, and I’m gonna make that happen again,” Faber said. “Let’s do it Dom, it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been sticking around a couple extra years just to let you heal up, buddy. You’re not made for battle. Thank goodness you made it out of this thing, hopefully alive and hopefully the foot’s OK. Let’s do this.”
Faber and Cruz have already fought twice, with both men claiming a win over the other, and they were all set to fight for a third time back in 2012 after a stint as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, but it never materialized due to Cruz’s recurring injury problems.
So, there’s definitely some heat behind seeing these two battle it out in a trilogy fight, though Cruz doesn’t sound all that enthusiastic about it.
“I’m still talking about him? I don’t even want to talk about him,” Cruz said in response to Faber’s call-out. “How many title shots has he had? Look at all these guys looking to take out a guy who’s had one minute of fighting in the last four years. So I guess I’ve got to pat myself on the back.”
A fight with Faber would certainly draw peoples attention due to their heated rivalry, and the fact that ‘The California Kid’ was in attendance in Boston suggests that might be an option that the UFC are leaning towards, but given the close nature of Sunday’s fight which ended by split decision, it’s unlikely many people would object if they opted to put on an immediate rematch with Dillashaw instead.
That’s certainly what the ex-champ wants, with Dillashaw stressing post-fight that he firmly believes he did enough to have retained the belt on the night.
“I definitely feel like I won that fight,” Dillashaw said at the post-fight press conference. “I mean, I was pushing forward, being the aggressor, landing the bigger shots. I just don’t understand how you can’t score it (for me) for that.”
Meanwhile, another potential challenger for Cruz has emerged with flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson’s long-time coach Matt Hume indicating that now could be the time for ‘Mighty Mouse’ to move up and seek a rematch.
“Well, well, things just got interesting,” Hume wrote on social media. “Time to talk about an appointment with an old friend and some unfinished business. Mighty Mouse!”
Johnson’s first fight in the UFC came back in 2011 with an unsuccessful attempt to take the 135lb title from Cruz, losing out by unanimous decision, but a move down to 125lbs after that led to him becoming one of the top pound for pound fighters in the sport, currently riding a ten fight unbeaten stretch.
So called ‘Superfights’ often struggle to materialize, but it certainly sounds as if Cruz is interested in the possibility, and feels he’s the best of the current options available to him.
“D.J. is a beast,” Cruz said. “I think D.J. would run circles around T.J. and Urijah. But I think that I could put it on D.J., too, again. Just like I did last time.”
The only thing we know for sure at the moment is that Cruz’s next fight won’t be happening any time soon as he limped out of the Octagon after his win on Sunday with a foot injury resulting from an ongoing problem with a condition known as Plantar Fascia and that’s more than likely going to keep him out of action for several months.