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Michael Bisping on Dominick Cruz’s title shot: ‘I’m not hating on it’

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UFC commentator Michael Bisping discusses Dominick Cruz’s surprising bantamweight title shot coming off a long layoff.

UFC Fight Night: Weigh-ins Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The UFC is obviously in a precarious spot right now due to the corona pandemic. Assuming they can find a place to actually host fights, they will have to do some major shuffling to cards due to many international fighters being restricted from leaving their respective countries.

One of the first major changes was to pull Jose Aldo from a bantamweight title shot against Henry Cejudo, which was scheduled for UFC 250. Instead, the UFC tapped Dominick Cruz for the spot. Cruz has been working as a commentator, and hasn’t fought in over three years due to injuries. Nonetheless, the former champ was seen as the right guy by the promotion, so he’s getting the shot.

Fellow commentator Michael Bisping was asked about this situation on his Believe You Me podcast, and while he is complimentary towards his co-worker and understanding of the unusual circumstances, he still sees the booking the way many fans have - as an odd piece of business. Bisping’s co-host Luis Gomez and the Hall of Famer went back and forth on the subject (transcribed by BJPenn.com):

“Yes, I mean. It’s been a long time. Three and a half years and he lost his last fight,” said Gomez. “I have a hard time giving him a title shot. I think what’s going on here is they [UFC] needed to come back with a vengeance and I don’t hate on it. I think it’s great, I think it’s really great. But, it’s a little bit of a tough pill to swallow to see Dominick Cruz coming back for a title shot.”

“I just feel like people were talking about how it’s a tough pill to swallow Jose Aldo getting a title shot [against Cejudo] coming off a loss,” highlighted Gomez. “But at the very least, it was a debate whether he won that fight. A lot of people thought he won that fight.”

“And it happened in December, not December three years ago,” responded Bisping. “I’m not hating on it. I like Dominick, he’s a good guy. He’s certainly put his dues in this sport over the years. He’s a long long time fighter, multiple-time champion. Remember, he came back from a long layoff and beat TJ Dillashaw. Close fight, but he took the belt back from TJ Dillashaw. So there’s no doubt of the calibre or the skills that he has, but you are right.”

Cruz and Cejudo are scheduled to face off on May 9th in a place to be determined.