Image via UFC
UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz put out the second part of the blog that he's writing for NBCSports.com in the leadup to his title defense against Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Versus 6 this Sunday. This part is about his two fights with Urijah Faber. Faber gave Cruz his only loss to date back at WEC 26 in March 2007, and it was a turning point in Dominick's career:
Even though I was finished quickly in that fight, I knew what I did during the short time I was in there and took confidence from what I was able to get done in that frantic first round. I knew the only reason I lost was because I made a silly mistake and played into his hands. I had absolutely no grappling going into that fight and everybody knew that would be a problem for me. It was.
After that I fight I came to the realisation that if I had the right coaching and worked on my grappling the way I needed to, I would only come back from that defeat a better fighter. I now had lessons to learn from and I set my mind on using that defeat as the turning point. I was only going to shoot for greatness from that point on.
Also, you take a lot of self-belief from knowing you have seen the best, confronted the best and hung with the best, if only for a short period of time. I knew I wouldn't come up against anybody as good as Faber for a few years, and that provided me with the necessary time to learn, develop, improve and catch up. I believed that, so long as I learnt my lessons, I would get better and better and would eventually reach a point where I'd be able to fight Faber again and be confident of getting the victory. That whole first experience with Faber just lit a fire under my butt and forced me to become the fighter I am today.
He goes onto discuss the rematch against Faber at UFC 132 this past July, a thrilling bout that Cruz won by unanimous decision. He talks about revenge a bit, but it really came down to proving something to himself:
I had to prove something to myself in that fight, and that is never easy. I am my own biggest critic, and it's taken years for me to believe in myself and reach a point where I feel I am the best in the world. I am harder on myself than anybody else ever could be. I needed that win over Faber to validate my claims and to prove to myself once and for all that I truly am the number one bantamweight in the world...
The second blog is unnecessarily wordy, just like the first one, but he does make some solid points again.