While bad blood runs deep between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, it certainly doesn't cloud Cruz' judgment when it comes to analyzing 'The California Kid's' fighting style.
Faber, 37, has only been finished three times in his 41-fight career and Cruz believes his survival instincts are what separates him from the rest of the bantamweight contenders. Faber's last stoppage loss came via TKO to then-champion Renan Barao at UFC 169 but, prior to that, the Team Alpha Male leader hadn't been stopped since 2008.
'The Dominator' analyzed Faber's skillset at the UFC 199 media scrum on Wednesday, per MMA Junkie.
"You can never count out a guy with championship experience," Cruz said. "He's got a five-round style. He knows how to survive. That's his biggest gift, understanding how to survive in that cage and not be finished. In his eyes, as long as he doesn't get finished, he has a shot to win. So his goal is to not be finished or try to get the finish. But that's why he loses decisions so much. Because he doesn't understand how to win fights through beating people up decisively, combinations, mixing things up."
While Cruz is dismissive of Faber's finishing ability, the former WEC featherweight champ has finished two of his last three wins under the UFC banner. His last fight saw him edge out Frankie Saenz in a competitive unanimous decision at UFC 194.
Cruz, who recaptured the 135-pound title by beating Faber's former teammate T.J. Dillashaw in January, went on to compare his rival to a cat being forced into a corner.
"So he moves backwards, he takes minimal damage and he throws haymakers one at a time in hopes that he can land that big shot and get the finish he wants. That makes him a dangerous guy throughout the fight. He's staying alive, he's always looking for those big shots.
"He's always just surviving, other than that. It's like putting a cat in a corner. They're always dangerous at all times. So you've got to respect that. I don't look past Faber on this fight, and that's why you're going to see the best me."
Both bantamweights are tied at 1-1 and will look to settle the score at UFC 199. The pay-per-view, headlined by a middleweight championship tilt between Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping, takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, California on June 4.