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Dominick Cruz: Henry Cejudo can’t declare himself the GOAT unless he beats me

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Dominick Cruz sends a message to current UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo.

After his win over Marlon Moraes at UFC 238 in June, Henry Cejudo declared himself as the “greatest combat athlete of all time.” That win marked his second UFC title while also held the flyweight title at the time.

Watching it all unfold from the sidelines was former 135-pound champion Dominick Cruz, who has been shelved due to injury for the last three years. Now that he is readying himself for a return, “The Dominator” also disputed Cejudo’s self-proclamation.

“Well, I’m kind of in a Diaz situation, Nate Diaz situation, where I’m like, ‘You got Henry Cejudo calling me out, why would I want to fight anybody else?” Cruz said on a recent episode of Brendan Schaub’s Food Truck Diaries (transcript by MMA Junkie).

“He’s the title holder, he’s got an Olympic title and thinks he’s a ’25-pound and ’35-pound champion. That’s the guy to beat, and he wants to say that he’s the GOAT; you’ve got to beat me, bro. It’s plain, simple, period.”

“It’s just like, let’s do this. I’m right here, I’m finally healthy,” he added. “We’re both coming off shoulder surgery, we’re both from Arizona, we were both on the same national wrestling team. I know his style. I know everything about him, I know his background. I know how he grew up.”

For the past year, the 34-year-old Cruz has been uncertain about his comeback date. Nowadays, he is already able to put a timetable for his return.

“Within the next six months,” Cruz said of his projected return date. “I’m healthy. This year, I will fight as long as everything stays in line like it has, and I learned that a lot of what was stopping me has just been keeping focused on the now and not worrying about things you can’t control.”

Cruz last fought at UFC 207 in December 2016, when he dropped the bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt. The belt has since changed hands two times.