UFC president Dana White has defended Dominick Cruz getting a shot at the bantamweight title at UFC 249 despite not fighting in over three years.
Cruz (22-2) last fought at UFC 207 in December 2016, when he lost the bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt by decision. At UFC 249 on May 9th, “The Dominator” has the chance to win the 135-pound belt back when he takes on the division’s champion Henry Cejudo.
Originally Cejudo was scheduled to face former longtime featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 250, but that fight and the event entirely was scratched. Talking to ESPN on Instagram, White defended the decision to book Cruz against Cejudo.
“He’s still one of the best in the world,” White said. “He’s one of the best in the world. He’s a guy who has been incredibly plagued with injuries throughout his career. But, he’s still looked at as one of the best in the world.” (Transcription via MMA Junkie)
There were a handful of other worthy contenders at 135-pounds, such as Aljamain Sterling or Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen, who are both undefeated in the UFC. However, it will be Cruz that will try to hand Cejudo his first loss since 2016.
“For a guy like Henry Cejudo, who literally is willing to fight anybody and wants to fight all the best - you want Jose Aldo, the Dominick Cruz’s and those kind of guys on your resume.”
UFC 249 is expected to take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on May 9th. An interim UFC lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje Will headline the card. Cejudo vs. Cruz will serve as the co-main event.