Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has experienced many highs and lows over the course of his MMA career and he says it’s forced him to come to terms with the defeats he’s experienced during that time.
At the same time though it’s also left the 36-year-old questioning whether stars who opt to retire early while still undefeated really pushed themselves as far as they could.
“I look at this sport from a completely different frame of mind these days than I ever looked at it before, because I’ve had to rewrite my belief systems as I’ve won and lost, won and lost,” Cruz said on The MMA Hour show. “That’s one of the reasons I’m here. I’d never felt that much loss in two years of my life. And then to come back again and win again after feeling that loss, there’s no understanding of yourself like that. So any athlete who left the sport undefeated, I question: ‘Are you really undefeated, or did you not challenge yourself as hard as you could have? And if you did, what would it look like on the other side?’”
Cruz went on to elaborate on the point, without specifically mentioning Khabib Nurmagomedov, who hung up his gloves last year after compiling a 29-0 career record.
“I get it, you’re undefeated — but like, are you undefeated, or could you have just pushed a little harder to get that next level and get that loss? And then come back and reclaim the loss with a win and see what your next level, your next evolution in life is? It’s not all about just winning and losing and being perfect. Nothing in life is that.
“You can’t dodge loss. You can’t dodge pain. You can’t dodge any of it. So what’s the point? You might as well just go right through it. The question is, when it does happen, what are you going to do with it? Are you going to just give up and say I’m retired and quit, or are you going to get back on the horse and see what else you can be?
“I was fortunate enough to have that experience, and I’m still on that ride, and let’s see what comes next.”
Cruz won’t have to wait long as he’s set to fight Pedro Munhoz on December 11th as he looks to build on a split-decision win over Casey Kenney last time out after having lost two fights in a row for the first time in his career beforehand.