Dominick Cruz wants you to know two things. First, even though he is still technically the UFC bantamweight champion, he considers interim champion Renan Barao the champ. Second, that "training session" with Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Yeah, that was just two combat sports champions getting together for a little informal chat.
Cruz has not defended his title since defeating Demetrious Johnson on October 1, 2011. Cruz when then set to coach against Urijah Faber in the 15th season of The Ultimate Fighter. When filming of the show was complete Cruz and Faber were to meet in a title fight.
That fight never happened. Cruz injured his ACL during filming and had to undergo surgery for a torn ACL. When his body rejected the cadaver ligament, it was back under the knife for Cruz who continues to rehab from that second surgery with an eye to returning in early 2014.
In Cruz's absence, the UFC created an interim bantamweight title. That title was awarded to Barao after he defeated Faber by unanimous decision at UFC 149. Since then Barao has defended his title one time. He will look to make it two, when he faces Eddie Wineland at UFC 165.
Cruz, speaking to Rick J. Lee said of Barao:
I view him as a champion. I just want my shot. I want my shot that I think I deserve after not getting the chance to lose the belt necessarily. I hurt myself. It's not a happy way for me to have to try and get my shot, but I want it. I want my shot to fight one of the best guys on the planet, Barao.
As for Mayweather, if you caught episode 2 of All Access: Mayweather vs. Canelo, you saw Mayweather hand a stack of cash to his mother while Cruz looked on. Cruz, said he was not training with Mayweather:
I did not train with Mayweather. What I did is I went in there and picked his brain. That's the brain of a champion. Regardless of whether you like him or don't like him, that's somebody that's been at the top of the sport for 15-plus years of boxing. If you're not picking the brain of somebody like that, then you're not trying to improve.
Cruz said that the talk with Mayweather lasted 30 minutes and that he wouldn't "take it back for a second."
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