Former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has gone after TJ Dillashaw for disregarding the division’s top-contenders in favour of a drop to 125lbs.
Cruz holds a victory over Dillashaw from early 2016 – a fight for the 135lb strap that could well be considered the most mesmerising display of head-movement and footwork we have ever seen in this sport.
Both guys matched up astonishingly well and the resulting fight was about as close a contest as you will ever see but in the time since he eventually lost his title to Team Alpha Male’s Cody Garbrandt, he has been forced to overcome yet another series of injuries – the latest of which saw him pull out of his scheduled UFC 233 showdown with John Lineker.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on the most recent edition of his ESPN MMA Show (via MMA News), Cruz explained how the division-hopping of his former foe Dillashaw is hurting the progress of the weight-class overall.
“I never missed Faber so much, and I never thought I’d say that. But he is a real champion. And you think about who we’ve got there now, TJ Dillashaw runs for the fences. I mean, he’s got [Marlon] Moraes begging, knocking at the door.
“He’s got [Raphael] Assuncão banging at the door with these wins. He’s got myself, who was not begging but was more than ready and the fans were more ready than me or anybody else to see that fight. And what did he do? He ran for the fences. He dropped to a division that’s already ending. How does that help anybody but himself? It doesn’t.
“And it doesn’t build the division. It hurts the division. So what are you really doing this for? You’re doing this to try to get another belt for yourself. And I get it. Facing an Olympic gold medalist in Henry Cejudo is not some easy task. I’m not saying that by any means. But what does it do for the division? Like, what are you really doing?”
In one particularly poignant section of the same interview, Cruz broke down the ‘extreme sadness‘ he is currently feeling – giving us an in-depth look into the psychological strength needed to deal with such adversity.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena