The Next Step For Dominick Cruz In The Sport?
What does a guy gotta do to step in a cage and fight? For former UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz the answer has yet to present itself. For coming on three years Cruz has been sidelined with injury after injury. Two of those were career-threatening knee injuries and a 3rd was a recent groin tear. As UFC president Dana White so eloquently put it “the only luck the guy has is bad luck”.
In May 2012 Cruz first injured his ACL, this on its own is a bad injury and possibly career-ending. It needed surgery and Dominick was out for 6 to 9 months. In December of 2012, it was discovered that the surgery was unsuccessful and Cruz was effectively back to square one. Finally, after overcoming his knee issues Cruz was scheduled to fight Renan Barao the Interim Champ. In a unification bout but disaster struck and a groin tear has forced him back onto the side-line.
Dominick’s old rival Uriah Faber now steps up for a rematch with Barao. Which promises to be a fight with plenty of fireworks, going off their recent performances. But back to Dominick, in a sport where fighters are constantly evolving being side-lined for a year is soul-destroying. But to be side-lined for close on three is in the realm of insurmountable.
Dominick Cruz Has Been Sitting On The Sideline
To grasp the seriousness of the situation it is crucial to look at Faber. Cruz and Faber last fought in 2011 in a razor-close win for Cruz, since then Uriah beat Brian Bowles and lost to Barao before going 4 and 0. Finishing three of those fights and looking like a new animal. Uriah is a contender for a fighter of the year and looking his best yet. In all the time that Uriah has been evolving Dominick has done little or no work and has been unable to work and grow.
Undoubtedly his best tool is his footwork, it was this area that brought him so much success with opponents unable to figure out his movement. With the strain of constant knee injuries, the MMA world will be watching closely to see what type of effect it has had on Cruz.
I would hazard a guess that if you took any fighter currently on the UFC roster. Very few if any would be able to compete at the top of their division after three years out. Cruz faces a challenge that has never been faced before, to come back after this time out and not only compete. But reclaim the belt that was stripped off him due to inactivity.
On a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, Dominick`s coach Eric Del Fierro spoke on Dominick’s mind-set and what is next for the former champ,
“When you lose the belt to an opponent, it’s a different feeling. When you lose it to yourself, I can’t put in words what he’s feeling because I really don’t know, but I know he’s just devastated.” When asked if this is the end for Dominick, Del Fierro was adamant that Cruz will be back and not only return but reclaim his belt, “I’m 100 percent confident he’ll get it back, that’s just the type of guy he is.”
Image courtesy of UFC.com