Dominick Cruz

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Dominick Cruz
Dom Cruz 2.png
Dominick Cruz during a USO show in 2017
BornDominick Rojelio Cruze[1]
(1985-03-09) March 9, 1985 (age 37)[2]
San Diego, California, U.S.
Nickname(s)The Dominator
NationalityAmerican
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[3]
Weight135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st)
DivisionBantamweight (2008–present)
Featherweight (2006–2008)
Lightweight (2005–2006)
Reach68 in (173 cm)[4]
Fighting out ofSan Diego, California, U.S
TeamAlliance MMA (2006–present)[6]
RankBlue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Lloyd Irvin[7]
Years active2005–present
Mixed martial arts record
Total28
Wins24
By knockout7
By submission1
By decision16
Losses4
By knockout2
By submission1
By decision1
Websitedominickcruz.com
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Dominick Cruz[1] (born March 9, 1985) is an American professional mixed martial artist. He currently competes in the Bantamweight division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is a former two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion. Cruz has also competed for World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), and was the promotions final WEC Bantamweight Champion. As of September 20, 2022, he is #7 in the UFC bantamweight rankings.[8]

Cruz is noted for his unorthodox movement, powerful wrestling base, quick striking, and his tendency to attack from angles in a fashion unlike any other fighter on the UFC roster.[9] He won the WEC bantamweight title in March 2010, and won the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Championship the following December. After defending the belt twice in 2011, Cruz was sidelined by injuries in 2012 and subsequently stripped of the title in 2014. On January 17, 2016, he regained the bantamweight championship with a split-decision win over T.J. Dillashaw. Numerous media outlets called this victory the greatest comeback story in MMA history.[10][11]

Early life[edit]

Cruz was born on March 9, 1985, in San Diego, California, and is of Mexican descent.[12] He lived with his single mother, grandmother, and brother in a trailer park in Tucson for most of his childhood. He started wrestling in seventh grade and competed all through high school out of Flowing Wells High School.[13][14] After an injury that came in his senior year, he lost the opportunity of receiving a scholarship to wrestle at the University of Northern Colorado.[15] Cruz worked as a customer service representative at Lowe's, and was studying to be a firefighter at community college before becoming a full time fighter.[16]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Cruz began his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career in 2005, competing in the Rage in the Cage and Total Combat organizations. He amassed a record of 9–0 before joining World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).[17]

World Extreme Cagefighting[edit]

His first fight in the WEC was at featherweight at WEC 26 in a title fight against Urijah Faber in which he lost by guillotine choke in the first round.[18] The fight would become the beginning of a longstanding cantankerous rivalry between the two.[19]

Dominick Cruz after retaining his WEC Bantamweight Championship at the WEC 50 in August 2010

He would then make his debut for the WEC's 135 lb bantamweight division on June 7, 2008, at WEC 34 defeating Charlie Valencia by unanimous decision.[20]

Cruz went on to take decision victories against Ian McCall on January 25, 2009, at WEC 38 and April 5, 2009, Ivan Lopez at WEC 40.[21][22][23]

Cruz defeated Joseph Benavidez on August 9, 2009, at WEC 42 by unanimous decision. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.[24]

WEC Bantamweight Championship[edit]

Riding a four-fight win streak, Cruz was presented with a title shot against the reigning WEC Bantamweight Champion Brian Bowles. The bout took place at WEC 47 on March 6, 2010.[25] Cruz won the bout via TKO after Bowles was unable to continue after the second round after breaking his hand. Cruz became the new WEC Bantamweight Champion.[26]

Cruz made his first title defense against Joseph Benavidez on August 18, 2010, at WEC 50.[27] Cruz broke his left hand in the fight.[28] The bout was a rematch of their contest at WEC 42, in which Cruz handed Benavidez his first career loss, via decision. Cruz defeated Benavidez again via split decision and retained his title.[29]

Cruz faced Scott Jorgensen on December 14, 2010, at WEC 53 for both the WEC Bantamweight Championship and the newly created UFC Bantamweight Championship.[30] This bout would be the final Bantamweight Championship fight under the WEC banner and would also crown the inaugural UFC Bantamweight champion, making this the only UFC title fight to take place outside of the UFC.[31] Cruz defeated Jorgensen via unanimous decision to retain the WEC Bantamweight Championship and become the first UFC Bantamweight Champion.[32]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Bantamweight Championship[edit]

On October 28, 2010, World Extreme Cagefighting merged with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). As part of the merger, all WEC fighters were transferred to the UFC.[33]

A rematch with Urijah Faber took place on July 2, 2011, at UFC 132 being the first defense of the new UFC Bantamweight title.[34] In a closely contested fight which saw Faber drop Cruz multiple times with strikes and Cruz landing multiple leg\body kicks, knees and takedowns, Cruz defeated Faber via unanimous decision to retain his championship and avenge the only loss on his record at that time.[35][36]

Cruz defeated Demetrious Johnson via unanimous decision on October 1, 2011, at UFC on Versus 6, his second UFC title defense. Cruz broke his right hand in the first round.[28][37] Cruz was expected to face Urijah Faber for a third time for the UFC bantamweight championship after Faber defeated Brian Bowles at UFC 139 in a bantamweight title eliminator bout.[38]

String of injuries[edit]

In December 2011, Cruz was selected to coach The Ultimate Fighter: Live against opposing coach Urijah Faber.[39] The rubber match between Cruz and Faber was expected to take place on July 7, 2012, at UFC 148.[40] However, on May 7, 2012, Cruz was forced to pull out of the bout citing a torn ACL.[41]

On December 3, 2012, it was revealed that Cruz underwent another ACL surgery after his body rejected one from a cadaver, with an expected recovery time of six to nine months.[42]

Cruz was scheduled to make his return on February 1, 2014, at UFC 169 in a unification bout with interim UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barão.[43] However, on a January 6 episode of SportsCenter, UFC president Dana White announced that Dominick Cruz had torn his groin and vacated the UFC Bantamweight Championship; White promoted Barão to undisputed UFC Bantamweight Champion, and announced that Barão's first unified title defense would be against Urijah Faber at UFC 169.[44]

After nearly three years away from the sport due to injuries, Cruz returned to the octagon on September 27, 2014, at UFC 178 where he faced Takeya Mizugaki.[45] Cruz won the fight by KO in the first round by punches after getting a takedown.[46] The win also earned Cruz his first Performance of the Night bonus award.[47] At the post-fight press conference, Dana White confirmed that Cruz's next fight would be for the Bantamweight Championship against T.J. Dillashaw.

Subsequently, on December 22, 2014, Cruz indicated that he had torn the ACL in his other knee, which sidelined him through 2015.[48]

Regaining the championship[edit]

After over four years since his last title fight, Cruz faced T.J. Dillashaw on January 17, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 81. He regained the title with a split-decision victory.[49] Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.[50] Many have cited the return and victory as one of the greatest comebacks in MMA history.[10][11]

To complete their trilogy, Cruz defended his title against Urijah Faber on June 4, 2016, at UFC 199. He won the fight by unanimous decision.[51]

Injuries and losing the title[edit]

Cruz faced Cody Garbrandt on December 30, 2016, at UFC 207. After getting knocked down multiple times during the bout, Cruz lost the bout by unanimous decision.[52] This was the first loss for Cruz in nearly 10 years.[53] Months later, on The Joe Rogan Experience, Cruz revealed that he was plagued by plantar fascia tendinitis throughout training camp that made it difficult for him to walk at times.[54]

Cruz was expected to face Jimmie Rivera on December 30, 2017, at UFC 219, however, on November 8, it was reported Cruz suffered a broken arm and he was forced to pull from the card.[55]

Cruz was expected to face John Lineker on January 26, 2019 at UFC 233.[56] It was reported on December 11, 2018 that Cruz injured his shoulder and pulled out of the fight.[57] Subsequently, Cruz indicated that he expects to be out of competition for another year.[58]

After more than a 3 year-layoff, Cruz replaced José Aldo and faced Henry Cejudo for the UFC Bantamweight Championship on May 9, 2020 at UFC 249.[59] Cruz lost via TKO in the second round.[60]

Cruz faced Casey Kenney on March 6, 2021 at UFC 259.[61] He won the fight via split decision.[62]

Cruz faced Pedro Munhoz on December 11, 2021 at UFC 269.[63] He won the fight via unanimous decision despite getting knocked down twice during the opening round.[64] The bout earned the Fight of the Night bonus award.[65]

Cruz was scheduled to face Marlon Vera on August 13, 2022 at UFC on ESPN 41.[66] He lost the fight by knockout via a head kick in round four.[67]

Fighting style[edit]

Widely considered one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, Cruz combines constant lateral motion with precise, in-and-out striking.[9][68] Known as one of the most agile fighters in MMA, he is noted for his quick footwork, head movement, and use of feints. He often attacks with combinations, step-in jabs, and single strikes thrown from all angles.[9][68] In addition to his striking, Cruz has extensive training in amateur wrestling.[14]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
28 matches 24 wins 4 losses
By knockout 7 2
By submission 1 1
By decision 16 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 24–4 Marlon Vera KO (head kick) UFC on ESPN: Vera vs. Cruz August 13, 2022 4 2:17 San Diego, California, United States
Win 24–3 Pedro Munhoz Decision (unanimous) UFC 269 December 11, 2021 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night.
Win 23–3 Casey Kenney Decision (split) UFC 259 March 6, 2021 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 22–3 Henry Cejudo TKO (knee and punches) UFC 249 May 9, 2020 2 4:58 Jacksonville, Florida, United States For the UFC Bantamweight Championship.
Loss 22–2 Cody Garbrandt Decision (unanimous) UFC 207 December 30, 2016 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Lost the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Fight of the Night.
Win 22–1 Urijah Faber Decision (unanimous) UFC 199 June 4, 2016 5 5:00 Inglewood, California, United States Defended the UFC Bantamweight Championship.
Win 21–1 T.J. Dillashaw Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Cruz January 17, 2016 5 5:00 Boston, Massachusetts, United States Won the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Fight of the Night.
Win 20–1 Takeya Mizugaki KO (punches) UFC 178 September 27, 2014 1 1:01 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 19–1 Demetrious Johnson Decision (unanimous) UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson October 1, 2011 5 5:00 Washington D.C., United States Defended the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Later vacated due to recurring injuries.
Win 18–1 Urijah Faber Decision (unanimous) UFC 132 July 2, 2011 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Fight of the Night.
Win 17–1 Scott Jorgensen Decision (unanimous) WEC 53 December 16, 2010 5 5:00 Glendale, Arizona, United States Defended the WEC Bantamweight Championship. Won the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Championship.
Win 16–1 Joseph Benavidez Decision (split) WEC 50 August 18, 2010 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the WEC Bantamweight Championship.
Win 15–1 Brian Bowles TKO (doctor stoppage) WEC 47 March 6, 2010 2 5:00 Columbus, Ohio, United States Won the WEC Bantamweight Championship.
Win 14–1 Joseph Benavidez Decision (unanimous) WEC 42 August 9, 2009 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night.
Win 13–1 Iván López Technical Decision (unanimous) WEC 40 April 5, 2009 3 3:24 Chicago, Illinois, United States Lopez was unable to continue after an unintentional knee on the ground by Cruz.
Win 12–1 Ian McCall Decision (unanimous) WEC 38 January 25, 2009 3 5:00 San Diego, California, United States
Win 11–1 Charlie Valencia Decision (unanimous) WEC 34 June 1, 2008 3 5:00 Sacramento, California, United States Bantamweight debut.
Win 10–1 Kenneth Aimes KO (punches) Total Combat 27 March 22, 2008 1 N/A Yuma, Arizona, United States
Loss 9–1 Urijah Faber Submission (guillotine choke) WEC 26 March 24, 2007 1 1:38 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States For the WEC Featherweight Championship.
Win 9–0 Shad Smith Decision (unanimous) Total Combat 18 November 4, 2006 3 5:00 San Diego, California, United States Featherweight debut. Won the vacant Total Combat Featherweight Championship.
Win 8–0 Juan Miranda Submission (rear-naked choke) Total Combat 16 September 9, 2006 1 4:00 San Diego, California, United States Won the vacant Total Combat Lightweight Championship.
Win 7–0 Dave Hisquierdo Decision (split) Total Combat 15 July 15, 2006 3 5:00 San Diego, California, United States
Win 6–0 Michael Barney TKO (punches) Rage in the Cage 79 February 24, 2006 1 2:45 Tucson, Arizona, United States
Win 5–0 Nick Hedrick Decision (unanimous) Rage in the Cage 75 September 30, 2005 3 2:00 Glendale, Arizona, United States
Win 4–0 Josh Donahue TKO (punches) Rage in the Cage 74 September 10, 2005 2 1:09 Casa Grande, Arizona, United States
Win 3–0 Tom Schwager TKO (punches) Rage in the Cage 73 August 6, 2005 1 0:56 Glendale, Arizona, United States
Win 2–0 Rosco McClellan TKO (punches) Rage in the Cage 70 June 11, 2005 2 1:26 Glendale, Arizona, United States
Win 1–0 Eddie Castro Decision (split) Rage in the Cage 67 January 29, 2005 3 3:00 Phoenix, Arizona, United States

[77]

Pay-Per-View Bouts[edit]

No. Event Fight Date Venue City PPV Buys
1. UFC 132 Cruz vs. Faber July 2, 2011 MGM Grand Garden Arena Las Vegas, Nevada 350,000[78]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mixed martial arts show results Date: March 6, 2021
  2. ^ Sherdog.com. "Dominick". Sherdog. Retrieved 2022-03-12.
  3. ^ Sherdog.com. "Dominick". Sherdog. Retrieved 2017-10-31.
  4. ^ "Print Fight Card – UFC 178 Johnson vs. Cariaso". UFC.com. Archived from the original on September 28, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  5. ^ "Stats | UFC". ufcstats.com. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  6. ^ Steven Marrocco (February 2, 2010). "WEC's Dominick Cruz confident he has tools to beat champ Brian Bowles at WEC 47". MMAjunkie.com.
  7. ^ Caron, Nick (July 3, 2011). "UFC 132: Did Dominick Cruz Take a Shot at Urijah Faber with Blue Belt Promotion?". Bleacher Report.
  8. ^ "Rankings | UFC". www.ufc.com. Retrieved 2022-09-20.
  9. ^ a b c Stets, Michael (2016-01-18). "UFC Fight Night 81 results: Dominick Cruz delivers vintage performance, defeats Conor mcgregor to regain Bantamweight belt". MSN.com. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  10. ^ a b Martin, Damon (2016-01-18). "Dominick Cruz just completed the greatest comeback in UFC history". FoxSports.com. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  11. ^ a b "UFC Fight Night 81 Results: Dominick Cruz Regains Title with Split Decision Over TJ Dillashaw". Yahoo.com. 2016-01-18. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  12. ^ Dominick Cruz [@DominickCruz] (July 7, 2016). "I AM MEXICAN myself dummy!" (Tweet). Retrieved January 9, 2021 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ "Dominick Cruz Is Unorthodox and Tough to Hit". LiveAbout. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  14. ^ a b Matherjan, Victor (2016-01-15). "Wrestlers Find Well-Worn Path to U.F.C. Title Bout". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  15. ^ "Dominick Cruz - Roadtrip Nation". roadtripnation.com. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
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  18. ^ "WEC 26 results live from Las Vegas". mmaweekly.com. March 24, 2007.
  19. ^ Scott Harris (June 2, 2016). "UFC 199: The Definitive Timeline of the Dominick Cruz-Urijah Faber Beef". Bleacher Report.
  20. ^ "WEC 34 results and live play-by-play". mmaweekly.com. May 31, 2008.
  21. ^ "Two fights added to "WEC 38: Varner vs. Cerrone," bout order set". MMAjunkie.com. December 31, 2008.
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  27. ^ "Cruz vs Benavidez For The Title In August". MMAweekly.com. 2010-06-08.
  28. ^ a b "Gross Picture of the Day: Dominick Cruz's Hand". CagePotato.
  29. ^ Brent Brookhouse (August 18, 2010). "WEC 50 Results - Dominick Cruz Retains With Decision Over Joseph Benavidez". SB Nation.
  30. ^ "WEC 53 title doubleheader features Henderson vs. Pettis, Cruz vs. Jorgensen". MMAJunkie.com. 2010-09-27. Archived from the original on 2010-09-30.
  31. ^ "WEC 53: Dominick Cruz, Scott Jorgensen Fight To Be First UFC Bantamweight Champion". SBNation.com. December 14, 2010.
  32. ^ "WEC 53 play by play and live results". MMAjunkie.com. December 17, 2010.
  33. ^ "UFC and WEC set to merge in 2011; events to air on Versus and Spike TV". MMAJunkie.com. October 28, 2010.
  34. ^ "Champ Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber II booked for UFC 132". MMAJunkie.com. 2011-03-26.
  35. ^ "UFC 132 Play-by-Play: Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber". MMAweekly.com. 2011-06-30.
  36. ^ Iole, Kevin (2012-02-26). "UFC 132: Cruz claims rematch over Faber". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  37. ^ "UFC Quick Quote: Dominick Cruz Beat Demetrious Johnson With A Broken Hand *VIDEO*".
  38. ^ Cofield, Steve (October 1, 2011). "Cruz digs deep to retain his 135-pound title at UFC on Versus 6". Yahoo.com. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  39. ^ "Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber Selected as Coaches of Next Ultimate Fighter Season". MMAFighting.com. December 6, 2011.
  40. ^ "Champ Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber III targeted for UFC 148 in Las Vegas". MMAJunkie.com. February 10, 2012.
  41. ^ Martin, Damon (May 7, 2012). "Dominick Cruz Injured, Out of UFC 148". MMAWeekly.com. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  42. ^ "UFC Champ Dominick Cruz's Return Pushed Back By Second ACL Surgery". MMAJunkie.com. 2012-12-03.
  43. ^ "Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas, Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barao set for UFC 169". MMAJunkie.com. 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
  44. ^ "Dominick Cruz withdraws from fight". ESPN.go.com. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  45. ^ Erickson, Matt (2014-07-08). "Dominick Cruz set for return at UFC 178 vs. Takeya Mizugaki". MMAJunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-07-08.
  46. ^ Fowlkes, Ben (2014-09-27). "Dominick Cruz finally returns for quick TKO of Takeya Mizugaki". MMAJunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-09-27.
  47. ^ Erickson, Matt (2014-09-28). "UFC 178 bonuses: McGregor, Cruz, Romero, Kennedy earn $50,000". MMAJunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-09-28.
  48. ^ Martin, Damon (2014-12-22). "Dominick Cruz suffers another ACL injury, timeline for return unknown". foxsports.com. Retrieved 2014-12-22.
  49. ^ Brookhouse, Brent (2016-01-18). "UFC Fight Night 81 results: Dominick Cruz regains title with split over T.J. Dillashaw". MMAJunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
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  78. ^ "UFC 132: Cruz vs Faber II | MMA Event".

External links[edit]

Preceded by 5th WEC Bantamweight Champion
March 6, 2010 – December 16, 2010
Succeeded by
Became UFC Champion
Vacant
Title last held by
First Champion
1st UFC Bantamweight Champion
December 16, 2010 – Jan 06, 2014
Succeeded by
Preceded by 4th UFC Bantamweight Champion
January 17, 2016 – December 30, 2016
Succeeded by