Dominick Cruz wants no less than an instant title shot against the winner of the bantamweight championship bout between Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 213, according to his head coach, Eric Del Fierro.
Cruz, 32, is familiar with both men, beating Dillashaw via split decision at UFC Fight Night 81 but losing the title to 'No Love' at UFC 207 in December of last year.
Del Fierro, the head trainer of Alliance MMA, says 'The Dominator' fought injured in both bouts but offered no excuses. The MMA coach and firefighter is also picking Garbrandt to retain the title against Dillashaw.
"Dominick beat TJ Dillashaw when he had planter fasciitis but lost to Cody," Del Fierro told Abhinav Kini of IBTimes UK in a recent interview. Dominick took the fight knowing the condition his body was in and has no regrets. Cody just had a better fight that night."
"There is no timeline and nothing is set in stone," Del Fierro said of a potential rematch against Garbrandt or Dillashaw. "Dominick wants to fight either guy, whoever holds the title. I think Cody will win, but we'll have to wait and see what happens."
Del Fierro also said his star student is in peak form and has learned to train smarter due to recurring injuries.
"Dominick is doing great and keeping busy," he said. "He is more mature and has a better understanding of himself, which lets him train smarter. He is in peak form and his best is yet to come."
Cruz, who is still ranked as the No. 8 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, was widely considered the best bantamweight champion of all time. The former WEC and UFC champ has beat the likes of Urijah Faber, Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez and Takeya Mizugaki, and is likely to return in the fall to face the winner of Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw.
Garbrandt and Dillashaw, both former teammates at Sacramento's Team Alpha Male, are the latest coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 25 and are expected to face off shortly after the show has concluded at UFC 213 on July 8.