UFC Live 6: 5 Reasons Dominick Cruz Has Cleaned out Bantamweight Division
At UFC Live on Versus 6, Dominick "The Dominator" Cruz showed why he is the bantamweight king. Normally Cruz uses angles, quickness and superior striking to subdue opponents. When he saw that using these traits would quickly lead to a loss, he did what all champions must do at some point in a successful reign.
He came to the realization that his challenger, Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson, was faster than him, but he also realized that he was stronger than the natural flyweight-sized competitor. He used his size and strength to literally throw Johnson around the ring en route to a unanimous decision.
This brought up the obvious question.
Has he actually done what Dana White always says Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva need to do?
Did he clean out the division?
Cruz Broke Brian Bowles
Let's talk about the most controversial one first.
Brian Bowles won the WEC bantamweight title against the guy that held it the longest and was an icon for the little guys: Miguel Torres. He brutally knocked him out to get the belt.
Along comes Dominick Cruz. He entered coming off a five-fight win streak, including a "Fight of the Night" win against Joseph Benavidez (we'll talk about him later). A title shot was inevitable.
You can't deny that early on in the fight, Cruz was dominating. He beat Bowles to the punch on a consistent basis and punished him with kicks throughout. Up until the stoppage occurred, Cruz was cruising to victory, but that's the thing: The fight was stopped.
Bowles had to bow out after the second round due to a broken hand. Here's where the controversy comes in. Some believed that Bowles didn't lose his title, he merely conceded it to Cruz. Sure, Cruz was winning the fight, but Pat Barry was winning the fight against Cheick Kongo, too, at UFC on Versus 4, but an uppercut ended Barry's night.
Cruz deserved the championship, that's undeniable. However, Bowles deserved a healthy crack at getting it back.
Cruz Bested Benavidez—Twice
I told you we would get back to Benavidez, and here he is.
Joseph Benavidez, aka Joe B-Wan Kenobi, has an unbelievable record of 15-2. He has finished 11 of his fights and trains with Team Alpha Male, so his conditioning and overall training is very solid. Well, then why isn't he a good candidate to buck the theory that the division has been cleaned out?
Because he lost to Cruz. Twice.
Those two loses are the only loses on his record, but he just can't seem to beat the guy. You know how when you get to Mike Tyson on Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! and it just seems like he's invincible? That's how his feels about Dominick Cruz.
Dominick Cruz won both fights with the same discipline: his wrestling. If they meet again, it will be more of the same, but a trilogy is a little far-fetched.
Cruz Nipped Urijah Faber
In his first defense of the UFC bantamweight title, Cruz defended against his arch nemesis, Urijah Faber.
Faber was the face of the WEC and continues to be a heavy fan favorite. Unlike the others on this list, Faber actually has defeated the Dominator, and rather convincingly. At WEC 26, Faber fought Cruz for the featherweight belt and took care of him in 98 seconds.
At UFC 132 Cruz got his revenge and secured just enough takedowns to knock Faber down a peg or two with a unanimous victory. It's quite possible that they will meet for the rubber match if Faber gets past the fists of Brian Bowles.
However, for now, a loss is a loss. Faber may be the only fight that makes sense for the champion.
Cruz out-Wrestled Demetrious Johnson
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this picture can accurately depict the resonating tone of this fight: "You can only move around if you want, but if I catch you, I'm throwing you down."
That's what Cruz did to Johnson. For the first time in his career, Cruz was out-quicked and would have undoubtedly came up in on the short end in the striking department. He adapted to his strengths, which literally was his strength.
Johnson couldn't string together enough offense to make a difference, and Cruz did just enough in the ring control department to get his hand raised.
Johnson most likely won't challenge for this belt anytime soon. With the advent of the flyweight division, he will more than likely be the czar of that division. So, strike him off the list.
The Fighter That Can Beat Him Doesn't Exist in the UFC
Dominick Cruz is the champion for a reason. He has fought the best in the division to prove that he is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He's beaten everyone worth noting in the division save for one person: Miguel Torres.
Here's the problem with putting Torres in a title fight with Cruz: Torres had the belt, lost it to Bowles by knockout, then turned around and lost by submission to Benavidez. Both of these victors have fallen prey to the Dominator. In light of this information, it's hard to justify shooting Torres up the ladder to compete to get "his" belt back.
So, if the definition of "cleaning out the division" is beating all the top contenders, hasn't Cruz already done it?
Every fight is a re-run, and we're yearning for new programming. At this point only a super-fight between Cruz and featherweight ruler Jose Aldo will appease us.