Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz has been out of action for what feels like forever. However, the reality is that it’s only been roughly 3 years. Cruz will return this weekend at UFC 178 to take on Takeya Mizugaki in what will be his first non-title fight since 2009.
Cruz has been out of the fight game due to surgeries and setbacks, but the former kingpin of 135 pounds is focused and excited to get back into the mix of the UFC. In a recent interview with Fox Sports he opened up on how his health is better than ever and how stoked he is to return.
“I’ve had a fight around the corner before and it was exciting, but not as exciting as it is now,” Cruz told FOX Sports. “Right now, it sounds crazy, but this is the healthiest I’ve been since I last fought (Urijah) Faber for the second time. Because even when I went into that fight with Demetrious Johnson, I had a broken hand. Now I don’t have one injury in my whole body, I’ve had this long layoff unfortunately but it’s also given me a lot of time to heal, understand and learn about my body, build my mind, build my spirit, so I’m feeling really good and really confident.”
Dominick goes into detail about watching from the sideline, emphasizing the hardships he battled when he wanted to fight but couldn’t.
“It wasn’t easy to watch Faber and (Renan) Barao compete for my title. What I earned and worked so hard to have. It wasn’t easy for me to watch Joe Soto go out there and break down these guys, being an analytical guy. Nothing has been easy,” Cruz said. “I wanted to fight every second of every ounce of the last three years.”
“I’m still the best bantamweight in the world in my mind, yes,” Cruz said. “That’s still something I need to go in there and fight. It’s been a long time since I fought. If I had any doubt that I was the best in the world then I shouldn’t be competing. If you don’t think you’re going to be the best, what’s the point? I choose to be the best bantamweight on the planet and I’m going to make it happen.”