Dominick Cruz got revenge when he outpointed Urijah Faber for a unanimous decision in the UFC 132 main event on July 2.
Faber had submitted him when they first met in March 2007 at WEC 26. The rematch was an entertaining one, and it begs the question of whether there will be a third fight.
â€œIâ€™m not going to turn down a rubber match,â€ said Cruz, the UFC bantamweight champion, on the Sherdog Radio Networkâ€™s â€œBeatdownâ€ show. â€œI fight whoever the UFC thinks is next. â€¦ D.J.â€™s been looking real good — Demetrious Johnson. Brian Bowles won again. I know that he wants to get a shot. Itâ€™s not really my job to choose title contenders and what not. Iâ€™ve never chose a fight and I never will, but I wouldnâ€™t turn it down.â€
Although some have criticized judge Sal Dâ€™Amato for giving Cruz all five rounds, Cruz cites his output and the fact that scores are always debatable.
â€œI felt that I had the higher output and landed the bigger shots with the higher output,â€ he said. â€œHe landed big shots as well but not as many of them, and I feel that I was being a lot more busy than him and I accomplished more takedowns than he did. So in my opinion, I liked the scorecards.â€
The always-active Cruz acknowledged that the fight slowed some in the championship rounds. It still wasnâ€™t slow, though, he pointed out.
â€œItâ€™s just, me and Faber were fighting at a pretty wicked pace,â€ Cruz explained. â€œI think thatâ€™s just attributed to the way we were fighting in the first three rounds. It slowed us down just a little bit in the fourth and fifth, but I think we were still keeping a pretty good pace, especially me. I was trying to just make sure to outpace him more than anything.â€
Cruz was complimentary of Faber, saying he fought like a â€œbeast.â€ In particular, he mentioned Faberâ€™s aggressive approach, which made sense but didnâ€™t surprise him.
â€œThe way that I choose to fight, thereâ€™s a couple ways to fight me,â€ Cruz said. â€œHe chose the straight-on approach. You can either sit back and wait for me to connect and try to close your eyes and counter right when you see me throw or you can do what he did and try to come forward and do what you can. I think that style favors Faber pretty well in the sense that heâ€™s quick. He felt like that would be a good approach for him and he fought well.â€
Faber landed some big strikes in the fight. Cruz admitted as much, but he also put the damage in perspective.
â€œI feel like I was trying to come forward just as much as he was,â€ Cruz said. â€œI felt like I marched forward and was trying to get in his grill, looking for the finish, throwing heat with everything I could, and that kind of gave up my chin a little bit. I was never completely out of the fight, but of course sometimes you get hit and you see little flashes. Every now and then you see a flash and you just keep scrapping, and thatâ€™s what I did.â€
In the end, both fighters put on performances they can be proud of. They delivered for themselves and also for the 135-pound division.
Said Cruz: â€œI think that it kind of made Dana White and Lorenzo [Fertitta] and all of them very confident in putting [bantamweights] as co- and main events on fight cards.â€