Dominick Cruz defeated Urijah Faber last month at UFC 132 and avenged his only loss of his career and defended his UFC bantamweight title in the process.
Cruz is one of five fighters to hold either the WEC or UFC bantamweight title. Cruz is among some big name fighters in the bantamweight division.
The bantamweight division is kind of overlooked, unknown to most and most don't know the history of it.
For those of you who don't really know the bantamweight division, here is a little lesson. For those of you who do know the division, here is a topic of discussion in the comments.
*Based upon the fighters respective overall careers
Reign: March 24, 2007 to February 13, 2008
Title Defenses: Def. Rani Yahya via unanimous decision (WEC 30)
Record after losing title: 7-4
Chase Beebe earned his title by beating the first WEC bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland, via unanimous decision at WEC 26.
Beebe went on to defend his title once against Rani Yahya, but faced a tough test in second title defense.
Beebe met one of the best bantamweights in the division's history and lost it when Torres submitted Beebe by guillotine choke in the first round at WEC 32.
Beebe was 10-1 going into his title fight with Wineland and had never fought in the WEC previously.
Reign: May 5, 2006 to March 24, 2006
Title Defenses: No defenses
Record after losing title: 6-2
Eddie Wineland became the first WEC bantamweight champion at WEC 20 when he defeated Antonio Banuelos by first-round knockout.
After the fight with Banuelos, Wineland didn't defend his title right away. Instead, Wineland fought Dan Swift just a month before he defended his WEC belt against Beebe. Wineland beat Swift by unanimous decision and then a month later went on to lose his belt to Beebe.
Since losing his belt, Wineland has faced some good fighters. Rani Yahya, Urijah Faber and Manny Tapia just to name a few. Wineland is coming off of a loss to Faber. That is Wineland's first loss since April 2009.
Wineland is set to face Faber's teammate, Joseph Benavidez, at UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle.
Reign: August 9th, 2009 to March 6, 2010
Title Defenses: No defenses
Record after losing title: 2-0
Brian Bowles has only had three fights outside of the UFC and WEC and won all three. Inside the WEC and UFC, Bowles has only lost one fight—a loss to current UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz.
Bowles was a perfect 8-0 going into his fight with Cruz and was 7-0 going into his fight with Miguel Torres that won him the belt. Going into his fight with Torres, Bowles held wins over Damacio Page and Will Ribeiro—both wins earned him the "Submission of the Night" bonus.
Since his loss to Cruz, Bowles has won two straight over Page and Takeya Mizugaki.
Reign: February 13, 2008 to August 9, 2009
Def. Yoshiro Maeda via TKO doctor stoppage (WEC 34)
Def. Manny Tapia via TKO (WEC 37)
Def. Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision (WEC 40)
Record after losing title: 2-2
This is where things got tricky for me. I really feel Miguel Torres is the best bantamweight in the history of the division. That was until I saw Dominick Cruz beat Urijah Faber at UFC 132.
Torres is an astounding 39-4 in his career and actually claims that he has a record of 51-4. Torres has also defended his title three times like Cruz.
In all four of his title fight victories, only Takeya Mizugaki was able to take him to the judges scorecard and past the third round. Torres also won "Fight of the Night" honors twice during his reign.
Reign: March 6, 2010 to Present
Def. Joseph Benavidez via split decision (WEC 50)
Def. Scott Jorgensen via unanimous decision (WEC 53)
Def. Urijah Faber via unanimous decision (UFC 132)
Record after losing title: N/A
Dominick Cruz is the first UFC bantamweight champion and the last WEC bantamweight champion. Cruz hasn't finished in any of title defenses, but his stats speak for themselves.
Cruz throws so many punches in a fight and lands a good chunk of them. Cruz floats around and it is the hardest thing to even land a finger on the guy.
I wasn't a believer before UFC 132, but Cruz has won me over. Although he doesn't finish, if you watch him in the ring he is one great fighter and can dominate his opponent.
Cruz also boasts a career record of 18-1 with victories over Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez (twice), Scott Jorgensen and Brian Bowles. If you look at bantamweight rankings, that is generally the top five bantamweight fighters.