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Dominick Cruz: Me getting the next title shot is the ‘fight that needs to happen at 135 pounds’

Dominick Cruz makes a case for himself on why he should be fighting the winner of Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw.

Dominick Cruz experienced his first defeat in nine years at UFC 207 last December. That unanimous decision loss also crowned a new UFC bantamweight champion in Cody Garbrandt.

Garbrandt will now be defending his title against former teammate T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 213 in July. The winner will likely be facing Cruz, who in the mean time is focusing on other endeavors outside of fighting.

But it does not mean that Cruz is not paying attention on his former opponents. On Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, “The Dominator” strongly feels that no other fighter should be given the next title shot but him.

“I told (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby what I wanted to do,” Cruz said (via MMA Fighting). “Sean Shelby is like, ‘well, I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s necessarily…’ He doesn’t know, he’s saying he doesn’t know.”

“I’m saying this is the fight that needs to happen at 135 pounds. I mean, there’s three people in this division that people know, and it’s me, T.J., and Cody. And the reason why you know us three is because I’ve been fighting these two people and I’ve been talking about them and I’ve been building them on FOX and giving them a lot of shine, and I’ve also been bashing on them, too.”

“But the mixture of the entire thing has built the three of us (up), and I think that between the three of us, we could probably fight for 10 years and always have a good fight. But realistically, that’s the fight that makes sense to me. It doesn’t make sense to go down in the division. I’m the No. 1 contender now, and to fight backwards in the division after the amount of title defenses I’ve had in the past, it doesn’t even resonate or make sense to me.”

Cruz believes he was able to keep the fight close until the later rounds, when he suffered a cut above his left eye, and was knocked down a couple of times. For these reasons alone, he maintains that he should be getting the next title shot, and because he believes it is a move that fans would also want.

“I wasn’t completely out of that (Garbrandt) fight come that fifth round,” Cruz said. “I was still in the fight. I was in the fight the entire time, so I definitely want to get another shot at that, and that’s what I’m looking for and focused on more than anything, is fighting the winner of T.J. Dillashaw (versus) Cody Garbrandt. That’s what I want. I think that’s what the fans want.”

“I’m here to fight the best in the world, to fight for the title, and I think that I’ve earned that position. And if I got completely to where I wasn’t even in that (Garbrandt) fight, I could understand. But I was in that fight from beginning to end, and in that fifth round, I would even say that I won. So there’s still a case for me in this match-up with Cody or T.J., either one of them.”

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