UFC bantamweight GOAT candidate Dominick Cruz fights Casey Kenney at UFC 259 on March 6. It will be the first time since 2014 that "The Dominator" isn't in a title fight. And he's on the prelim card, albeit at the top - the spot is reserved for fights so good that fans on the fence about coughing up $70 for five more fights are inspired to.
“That’s probably the most seen position on the entire fight card,” said Cruz during a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. “I’ll have the most eyes on me. Like I said, I’ve had a pretty decent layoff, so let’s get me in front of a lot of eyes is what I’m thinking. At the same time, being on the prelims, that’s an ego thing. I’m not really attached to my ego at this point. I know what I am. I know the things that I’ve accomplished.”
Cruz returned from a 41-month layoff to fight then division champion Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 on May 9, 2020, and lost via TKO in Round 2. Cejudo then retired from fighting, but not from trash taunting. Cruz is not impressed.
“He retired after that to not have to face anybody but he’s still chirping,” said Cruz. “It’s not championship stuff when you do that, to me. You’re keeping yourself safe and trying to find yourself until you get the right position to come back... That target on your back, that’s what breaks champions, the target on your back over a long period of time... To me, that’s the sign of a real champion. It isn’t if you can win the belt, it’s how long can you hold it? How long can you stay at the top with that target on your back?”
Cejudo's "King of Cringe" schtick recently included a message to UFC president Dana White, in which Cejudo said no UFC champion at flyweight, bantamweight, or featherweight champions could last until the third round.
Yo @danawhite why don’t you line up all your Rent A Chumps at 125, 135 and 145. I bet the house that neither one of them would make it past two rounds with Triple C! #justsaying ?????? pic.twitter.com/lksilc8NFa— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) February 22, 2021
Cruz countered that the UFC has little financial interest in bringing Cejudo back.
"He has this thing where he believes he’s worth millions and millions of dollars and I think that Dana doesn’t care," said Cruz. "So probably not because he wants a certain amount of money before he’ll come back and fight, and I don’t know if he’ll ever get that.
“You look at the rest of the division, Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling - two top contenders that are fighting for the belt coming up - those guys aren’t asking for that kind of money and they’re going to bring a crazy fight to the table. So why would you bring back Cejudo, who’s playing it safe on the sidelines? For what? He doesn’t bring any extra views. If you’re a Conor McGregor, if you’re a Ronda Rousey, yes, you figure it out. But if you’re Henry Cejudo, he doesn’t bring some sort of awe factor to these fights to where everybody can’t wait to tune in to watch him. They’re just kind of laughing at him. He’s cringy.”
Cejudo responded in character.
UG, do you think Cejudo returns to the Octagon? And how does Cruz do vs. Kenney?