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Dominick Cruz’s Views On Why Cody Garbrandt Defeated Him Make Some Serious Sense

Dominick Cruz recently appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast and at one point, gave his own personal view on why Cody Garbrandt got the better of him late last year.

The UFC’s former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is known for his unique and methodical approach to the martial arts. As a fighter, his unorthodox footwork and head-movement have seen him elevate his game to something more akin to a puzzle for his opponents to solve, rather than a problem they can best by sheer strength or will.

For years, Cruz stood as the world’s number-1 bantamweight and despite a truly harrowing experience with persistent injuries, he ended up making what has been widely accepted to be the greatest comeback in the history of the sport when he defeated TJ Dillashaw last January to reclaim his old title after spending virtually years on the sidelines.

Cruz’s reign atop the 135lb division was not to be a long one, however, and sure enough, at UFC 207 in December, the young lion Cody Garbrandt took a shot at the champion and put on the performance of a lifetime. He bested the heavily-favoured Cruz in all aspects of the fight and left the octagon as the new champion of the bantamweight division.

Dominick Cruz gained himself a lot of new fans, however, as a result of the manner in which he accepted that defeat and since then, has been fixated on righting the wrongs in his performance. As of right now, he seems set on putting himself forward as the first opponent for whomsoever gets their hand raised when Garbrandt takes on TJ Dillashaw this summer.

Garbrandt, who fights out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, is part of a fight-team whose history with Dominick Cruz is as long and storied as any rivalry in the sport. The gym’s founder Urijah Faber has for years shared beef with the former-champ Cruz and over the last decade, has seen himself and his team-mates fail to defeat him in some of the division’s most high-profile title fights. Cruz spoke on the latest edition of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast about his own views on the rivalry as well as his hopes for his next bout.

“After getting through that fight with Cody, I just feel like I want to face the winner of those two. I mean, I think that he [Cody] had a good night. I’ve fought that camp [Team Alpha Male] how many times? Legitimately if you went back and looked at tape you could probably break down 30 rounds with me and that camp. That means they have all those reads on me.”

Cruz went on to put forward an interesting idea about why the relatively green Cody Garbrandt was able to achieve what the more seasoned fighters like Dillashaw and Faber could not.

“Cody started out watching me in Junior High School. The way I look at it is, he’s the one guy who could implement it because he looked up to the guys who wanted to beat me as ‘they are the sh*t’. So it took down the ego from him and allowed him to learn from the best guys that I fought and really take in that information and use it.”

“You give a guy like Faber or TJ information and I guarantee you it’s in one ear and out the other, they already know everything. And I think that Cody was just like a sponge for these guys because he was young and so he came up in that camp as a youngster and nothing those guys could say to him could be wrong. So that made him very effective with what he is doing today.”

“He’s built his style to the beat the champion, which was me.”

Dominick Cruz, who works as an analyst for UFC on FOX in his spare time, has been slowly making the transition into the realms of fight-commentary and for many, is one of the game’s most adept students. With sobering thoughts like these coming out on a frequent basis, it’s not hard to see a career outside of fighting in the future of the Dominator.

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

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Author: Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at cillian@punditarena.com.