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Chiesa: Henry Cejudo is an all-time great, but Dominick Cruz ‘has a legit chance’ at UFC 249

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“If there’s anybody who can come back off this long layoff and win it’s gonna be Dominick Cruz.”

UFC welterweight Michael Chiesa thinks Dominick Cruz shouldn’t be written off in his UFC 249 title fight against Henry Cejudo.

Cejudo will attempt to defend his bantamweight title against Cruz in the co-main event of UFC 249 this Saturday, May 9th. The fight is Cruz’s first in close to four years, last fighting at UFC 207 in December 2016 when he lost his 135-pound title to Cody Gabrandt.

Understandably Cruz enters the fight with Cejudo as an underdog, with Cejudo beating some of the best such as Demetrious Johnson and T.J. Dillashaw, whilst Cruz has been on the sidelines.

“If there’s anybody who can come back off this long layoff and win it’s gonna be Dominick Cruz,” Chiesa told MMA Fighting. “One thing that Dominick has that these other guys don’t is the way he moves and his footwork. If you watched when he fought TJ Dillashaw, his movement can draw guys into missing a lot of strikes and he’s one of the few guys in the UFC who can win off of defense.

“You don’t really see that in mixed martial arts. You see that in boxing. You see guys in boxing win fights with defense, making guys miss, countering and things like that. I feel like Dominick is the only guy off the top of my head that wins fights off of defense.

Since becoming a two-weight UFC champion, Cejudo has been known for his cringy, “Triple-C” persona. Most recently, he printed pillows with Cruz’s face on and taunted him with them at the UFC 249 weigh-ins, Despite his antics, Chiesa recognises Cejudo as one of the best fighters to ever make the walk.

“A lot of people would hate that I say this, but (Cejudo) is one of the best combat sports athletes of all-time,” Chiesa continued. “I might be biased because he’s a wrestler, but Dominick Cruz has a legit chance to win this fight.”