Just a few years ago, Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber were staunch rivals. But when “The California Kid” initially retired in 2016, Cruz gave a peace offering that ultimately squashed their rift.
Faber also saw the bantamweight title fight between Cruz and champion Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 early this month. As an observer, the Team Alpha Male head coach gave credit where it is due.
“I thought he looked good,” Faber said of Cruz during a post-fight scrum on Saturday. “You never know how people are ageing, everybody’s different, but he’s got a style that lends to a long career.
“It makes me more and more impressed with Henry Cejudo, what a champion. It’s hard to take him serious sometimes, but you’re forced to when he keeps doing what he’s doing.”
As veteran fighter and Hall-of-Famer, Faber also gave his take on the controversial stoppage that led to Cruz’s first-ever TKO loss.
“The referees are in there to do their job and save guys from taking too much damage,” he said. “But at the end of the day, especially in world championship fights when you’re dealing with guys that are future Hall-of-Famers and multiple time world champions, we want to remove all doubt. We want to know, like, ‘I had no more chance.’
“So I feel for him on that,” Faber said, showing sympathy for Cruz. “I feel like he could’ve still had a chance, and that’s always the part that irks you. So I can understand his frustration.”
He does, however, partially disagrees with claims about Keith Peterson supposedly being drunk on the job.
“I doubt that Keith Peterson was drunk,” Faber said. “He might’ve been sweating some alcohol and definitely smelling some cigarettes, but I don’t think he was drunk. He was trying to look after Dom.”
After Cejudo retirement announcement after the Cruz fight, the bantamweight division is now left without a champion. It is unlikely for Faber to get a title shot anytime soon, and according to Dana White, the vacant championship bout will likely be between “Petr Yan and somebody.”