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Cruz: Urijah Faber using reputation to launch 'smear campaign' against Ludwig

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Dominick Cruz says Urijah Faber is attacking former coach Duane Ludwig out of spite.

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There is still beef between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber. The rivalry dates back to 2007, when Faber submitted Cruz in the first round to defend his WEC featherweight championship. Four years of animosity led to a rematch in the bantamweight division at UFC 132 in 2011.

"The Dominator" utilized his erratic movement and high volume of strikes to earn a unanimous decision against Faber to become the first bantamweight champion in UFC history. At 1-1 in the cage, the two still have unfinished business and have continued to snipe at each other from afar. After Cruz blasted Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178, the former 135 lbs. champ called out Urijah's Team "Alpha Fail" in the post-fight interview.

Now, in the midst of drama between "The California Kid" and former coach Duane Ludwig, Cruz has stirred the pot by claiming Faber has purposely launched a "smear campaign" against "Bang" because of his success as a coach.

"So what's Faber gotta do?" Cruz told MMA Fighting. "Naturally, he's gotta trash Duane Ludwig. Has to. When we look all the way back to when I fought Faber, it's the exact same situation in my opinion that he's doing to Ludwig. It's like a smear campaign that Faber does when he starts feeling uncomfortable with somebody. He uses his fanbase and his platform to bash somebody when they're doing something well. That's what he did to me."

The Alliance MMA fighter relates to Ludwig by detailing the insults Faber used to hurl at him in the WEC.

"Everybody doesn't know how [many] terrible things he said about me that people believe, because he's Urijah Faber," Cruz said. "It made things very tough for me coming up to have people believe in me because you have somebody with the platform saying the opposite."

Cruz, who has been cursed with injuries for the past four years, will make his return to the Octagon to challenge Alpha Male standout T.J. Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 81 on January 17th. Urijah Faber last fought at featherweight at UFC Fight Night 66 where he lost to Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision.

Check out the full interview with MMA Fighting here.