The fight that many labeled as Bad Blood took place on Saturday, July 2nd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fought between former WEC Bantamweight, and current UFC Bantamweight Champion, Dominick Cruz, and former WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber, this fight was a rematch of their first from back in March of 2004 for the WEC Featherweight Championship—a fight that Faber, a Sacramento native, won by Guillotine choke a mere 1:38 into the first round.
In what was a complete reversal of fortune, it was Cruz who found himself on the winning end of the Unanimous Decision victory, and UFC President Dana White placing the UFC Bantamweight belt back around his more-than-deserving waist.
All the talk from both fighters leading up to the fight only promised fans a battle of epic proportions and with both fighters leaving it all in the octagon, as if to assure everyone who the dominant fighter was.
For five rounds, Dominick Cruz proved to be the better fighter as he confused Faber with his unorthodox fighting style, allowing him to land punches from every angle. Cruz kept a frenetic pace as he engaged Faber relentlessly.
Faber looked sharp, and while on two occasions was able to drop the Bantamweight Champion Cruz, Faber was never able to capitalize.
The most interesting aspect of the fight was that Faber was unable to land his signature takedowns to take the fight with Cruz to the ground. Faber was a perennial section wrestling champion from Lincoln High School and eventually earned a wrestling scholarship to U.C. Davis.
No, curiously enough it was Cruz who landed more takedowns and easily escaped several of Faber’s takedown attempts.
Both fighters would go home with Fight of the Night honors and bonuses to go along with it. Unfortunately, Faber will go home without the championship belt that he so covets and thinks that he deserves.
Cruz, on the other hand, will go home to San Diego with the belt still around his waist. But more than that, Cruz will walk away with the satisfaction of beating the last man to defeat him some four years ago.
The lasting questions from this epic fight will be: when will they fight again and who should challenge Cruz next? Cruz has looked completely dominant in each of his three title defenses.
With the ever growing stable of UFC Bantamweights, there is no shortage of fighters to step up and challenge the “Dominator.”
But the biggest question is, are any of them worthy?
Cruz owns two wins over highly ranked Joseph Benavidez, and now dominant wins over Faber, Scott Jorgenson and Brian Bowles. If Benavidez is able to beat Eddie Wineland in their upcoming fight, will he get his third shot at Cruz, or will Wineland be next in line if he beats Joey B?
What next for Cruz?
There is the possible rematch with former WEC champ Brian Bowles, who has won two in a row and beat Takeya Mizugaki Saturday night. A matchup with Brad Pickett or Demetrious Johnson doesn’t scream “Must Watch” for the PPV audience. Although both have winning streaks, Pickett at one and Johnson at four, that only leaves Masakatsu Ueda, and Ueda does not fight under the UFC banner.
That only leaves a possible matchup with Miguel Torres. A Torres fight would have been monumental several years ago when Torres held the WEC strap and owned the division, but now with Torres struggling to compete and win fights, that fight is unlikely to happen.
Unfortunately for Dominick Cruz, he seems to be his own worst enemy. He is just too good and holds wins over too many relevant fighters in the Top 10 of his respected division. This is the same problem that plagues UFC champions Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva.
The only thing that could work the MMA faithful into a frenzy would be a possible fight between Cruz and 145-pound king, UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. Both fighters are exciting strikers and the matchup is intriguing. UFC President Dana White may have no choice but to have these champions fight.
The future for Dominick Cruz may be murky, but one thing is clear: after all the trash talk and bad blood boiled over, he was able to come out of his feud with Urijah Faber with the UFC Bantamweight belt around his waist, and his hand raised in the air victoriously.