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Dominick Cruz Now the Only Person No Longer Concerned About Defending His Bantamweight Belt

(Cruz, seen here showing off the results of his latest trip to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Those ball pits can be VICIOUS.) 

For the past two years, the UFC’s bantamweight division has been an absolute ghost town, plagued by injury to the point that even its replacement champion hasn’t been able to come out unscathed. I can’t remember the last time I typed Dominick Cruz’s name into the CagePotato CMS, to be honest — as I do it now, a message asks me if I meant “Domino’s Crust” and that doesn’t even make any goddamn sense.

While there’s not much than anyone can do to speed up Cruz’s recovery time — the man is coming off double knee surgery (including a botched cadaver-ACL transplant), for Christ’s sake — there comes a time when a champion’s inability to defend his own belt should come at a cost. Paul Taylor was recently released by the UFC simply because he has been plagued by injury and incredibly bad luck since 2011. Not that he and Cruz are exactly comparable in terms of their standings in the promotion, but at what point should the UFC step in and force Cruz to hand over his baseball to the kids who can actually play with it? It’s a question that the champ himself cannot answer, but if you think he is even worried about it, think again:

I can’t worry about the belt. It’s really not my position to decide whether I keep it because I’ve been injured or whether Dana takes it or whether Barao has it. The belt is there. The bottom line is me getting healthy so I can go out there and do what I do best which is prove why I am where I am today. I’m not here by accident. I work hard to be there I’m at and I’m working hard in therapy to make sure I return to form as soon as possible. That’s the goal. It’s been a very tedious, tough process…. Nobody wants to wait including me. I don’t want to have to wait but I don’t really have a choice at this point other than to take my time and come back strong. 

We’d never want a fighter put the needs of his job over those of his own personal health, but at the same time, if Cruz isn’t going to be back in fighting form for the rest of the year (his last surgery was in December 2012, with a 6-to-9 month recovery time), shouldn’t the UFC feel obligated to some degree to strip his title? The bantamweight division might not be the most stacked one in the world right now, but there are still a few matchups to be had that could make for excellent title fights. To essentially deny that opportunity to the rest of the division (and the payday that comes with it) for a champion who has been M.I.A. since 2011 seems a little absurd, does it not?

-J. Jones

Cagepotato Comments

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macreadysshack- July 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm
Sure, I'm for stripping him of the title. . . it's only fair. I think you go way too far to say he doesn't care, though. He's just been working on serious Sport Psychology and he's left J. Jones in his own pile of uncomprehending poop. The healthy minded athlete never wastes energy on things he/she cannot control. Cruz is doing an excellent job focusing on getting healthy rather than wasting energy worrying about shit he can't do anything about. Sport Psychology - learn about it.
mookiestick- July 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm
So is this a recent injury? For some reason, I missed the part that addresses this hand injury
Mr_Misanthropy- July 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm
I'm a Motley Cruz fan. I think it would be in his best interest to give up the belt and take a fight or two before he faces the Chupacabarao but then again what do I know? I just watch this shit on teevee.
ReX13- July 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm
No, that's clearly a shot of Cruz and his beloved pet, Milli Vasnilli, the Big Silly Millipede. Seem him kind of melting into Cruz'z skin? He's so silly! LOL

amsterdamheavy- July 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm
Ive got nothing against Cruz, and I enjoy the lighter weight classes as well. All of that being said, He should have been stripped as soon as it was announced that he needed that do-over ACL surgery because the cadaver ligament was rejected.

I posted this last wee in an article: Cruz has held the belt inactive 2x longer than Frank Mir did before he was stripped.

Its just too damn long to have a belt and division tied up in this sport.
algiersheadkick504- July 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm
Heard that. He does have wild footwork but he has excellent combos and great at mixing it up I realllyyy want him and Barao to fight soon
J.Jones- July 16, 2013 at 11:27 am
@algiers - Nah, I'm a fan as well, which makes it all the more depressing to see him trapped in injury purgatory these past two years.
algiersheadkick504- July 16, 2013 at 11:15 am
Im I the only person on this website that likes Cruz?? Sucks this happend