Dominick "The Dominator" Cruz earned a unanimous decision victory over challenger Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson to retain his UFC bantamweight title.
Claiming his 19th victory inside the cage, Cruz has successfully defended his UFC championship belt in two consecutive matchups.
Controlling Johnson with his size and wrestling ability, Cruz was able to slow down the relentless pace of "Mighty Mouse" by "grinding out a victory."
With these stellar accolades, why would I title this piece as "Cruz losing credibility?"
Honestly, I am tired of Dominick Cruz's self-driven public relations media blitz in which he believes that he is a dominant champion.
First, proclaiming yourself as "The Dominator" implies that Cruz should be finishing his competitors. But with 12 decision victories out of 19 total fights, can Cruz truly label himself with this moniker?
Experts tear UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre apart for his conservative approach during his title bouts.
GSP out jabbed Josh Koscheck for five rounds and instead of being awarded with the label as a tactician who picked apart his opponent with their apparent weakness, pundits ripped St-Pierre for not finishing Koscheck.
Deservedly or not, when compared to St-Pierre, Cruz is a much more conservative fighter relying on his cardiovascular conditioning and elusiveness to secure decision victories.
Secondly, utilizing the hated "lay and pray" tactic on Johnson, outside of one rear-naked choke attempt that "Mighty Mouse" rolled himself into, Cruz was content in being reactive on the ground instead of delivering a proactive attack to finish Johnson with a submission as a champion should.
Thirdly, the stand-up battle was very even. Cruz typically enjoys an advantage in his matchups on their feet because of his tremendous movement and slick footwork that opens up a multitude of striking angles.
Johnson, however, was the aggressor in this championship fight by being one step faster than Cruz and delivering the harder shots.
"Mighty Mouse" landed numerous strikes when disengaging from the clinch and was changing levels and planes of attack with a variety of punches and kicks from all positions inside the Octagon.
Lastly, the only aspect that Cruz embodies as a champion is his arrogance. Speaking with Joe Rogan inside the Octagon after his title defense, Cruz provided Johnson with minimal respect for his abilities inside the cage. However, "Mighty Mouse" took the fight to Cruz, not the other way around.
The reality is that Dominick Cruz retained his championship, but lost a tremendous amount of credibility as a fighter.
Being a champion and proclaiming your own self-dominance requires that a man backs his words. Outside of "floating like a butterfly," Cruz has no sting, as proven with his 12 decision victories.
Muhammed Ali was not the greatest because he could dance better than his opposition inside the ring. He was the greatest because he delivered knockout shots in addition to his relentless, non-stop, ballet style movement throughout his fights.
Cruz could learn a lesson from Ali.
One more note to leave you with, "The Dominator" finishes his opponents at a less-than-championship caliber 37% rate. Until he begins to finish his fights at an Anderson Silva-esque rate of 69% or at the 54% in which Georges St-Pierre knocks out or submits his opponents, Cruz does not deserve to proclaim himself as "The Dominator."
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