Dominick Cruz cracks on Urijah Faber
In the comic books, the mantle of The Flash is carried most commonly by the world’s fastest man Barry Allen.
In real life, Dominick Cruz and Urjiah Faber could have easily stolen that mantra after a five round fight that was like watching lightning vs. lightning in the cage.
Going into the bout, everyone knew the speed and elusiveness of UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, but it was apparent in the opening moments of his rematch with Urijah Faber that his opponent was going to go step for step with him.
Cruz’s style, which has really become his own signature way of fighting, is a mix of head movement, foot movement and quick in and out punches.
Against Faber, Cruz didn’t change much from what got him to the belt, but he had to time things differently as the former WEC featherweight champion caught him a few times coming in and going out on their exchanges.
Still, Cruz cracked Faber with stiff punches and mixed in a few kicks to keep him off balance.
When the power shots were thrown throughout the five round affair, it was typically Faber who landed them, but Cruz’s grasshopper like movement kept him out of trouble and away from the ‘California Kid’ being able to follow up with much of anything.
Cruz takes the decision
“I’ve got to say Urjiah was, that dude hits hard, his hands were very fast,” Cruz said. “His hands were very good.”
As the rounds wore on, it was obvious that Faber wasn’t going to get Cruz to the ground after the champion shrugged off his wrestling attempts early in the fight. Cruz however switched things up and snatched a few takedowns of his own, and while they didn’t keep Faber on the mat for very long, he was still able to get him there and score valuable points with the judges.
The fifth round may have ended up being the most decisive, yet still razor close throughout. Cruz opened with a big knee that clipped Faber on the forehead and sent the former champion backwards.
“I hit him with a jump knee in like the 4th round I think, and that (expletive) rocked him. He’s tough, he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a long time, he was ready for it,” Cruz commented after the fight.
Faber recovered and fired back, winging punches at the champion’s head and showing that the dog still had plenty of fight left in him.
Cruz left nothing to chance though and kept the pressure on Faber, and he continued to push forward and attack, making sure he racked up points that would surely give him the decision when the judges tallied their scores.
As the final horn sounded, Cruz and Faber both walked away with hands raised and even embraced for a moment as two warriors who had to gain mutual respect for one another after spending 25 minutes in the cage together, left nothing behind.
The scores came back and gave Dominick Cruz the unanimous decision victory, his 3rd straight title defense, and surely a taste of redemption getting a win over his old rival Urijah Faber.
Humble in defeat, Faber paid credit to Cruz for his efforts in victory.
“I knew it was going to be a tough fight, you never really know until you get in there,” Faber said. “I thought I landed the bigger punches, I had him rocked a couple times, but congratulations to Dominick, he won. It wasn’t enough of an output on my side to make it a decision, I didn’t finish him.”
Many times over the last year, Dominick Cruz has been called one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but defeating Faber may have been his career defining moment to his point.
Avenging the only loss of his career while also clearing out the best contender in the division, Dominick Cruz proved he belongs in the same sentence as Silva, St-Pierre and Jones when speaking about the top champions in all of MMA.
Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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