Article By by Matt Erickson
Dominick Cruz admits a jump to featherweight might be in his future. But it’s not going to come anytime soon.
Cruz (19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), the UFC’s bantamweight champion, is on the sidelines for the foreseeable future â€“ though he would like to be back in the first part of 2013.
When he returns from his knee surgery rehab, he has a likely date with Renan Barao (28-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), the interim titleholder. And while he admits one day moving to 145 pounds might be a necessity, he has plenty of business left to conduct at 135.
“Right now, I can make 135,” Cruz recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “I’ve been cutting weight for so long. It always sucks. It’s never fun. Never. There’s never an easy time to cut weight.”
But just because it “sucks” and isn’t easy doesn’t mean it’s not working for the champion. In fact, Cruz said in some ways, that weight cut is as much a part of fighting for him as making the walk to the octagon.
“What a lot of people don’t understand about me is I thrive off that pain,” Cruz said. “That’s my pre-fight ritual. If I don’t cut a large amount of weight, I feel lost. I’ve fought three or four fights at 155. But my distinct process, (135 is) where my body works the best. I’m happy at 135 right now. Right now, I’m looking at the future of my career at 135. I have a couple more fights before I can start talking about switching weight classes.”
Cruz, who turned 27 this past March, said that as he gets older, it may be harder for him to make the cut to bantamweight. And then, he said, he can start thinking about featherweight.
But even if he beats Barao and then continues to clean out the rest of the division, he doesn’t see himself getting bored at bantamweight any time soon.
“Is anybody ever really satisfied? I’m far from satisfied, and I always have something to prove to myself and everyone else,” Cruz said. “There’s always haters and doubters, and I love to prove them wrong. I do this because I love it. I’m fighting for something new every time I go out there. I’ve fought four times for the belt and I’ve held the 135-pound title for two years. You can’t have too many title (defenses).
“So I’m far from satisfied, and I have a long time left in this sport.”