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Dominick Cruz questions retired undefeated fighters: Did you push yourself hard enough?

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Dominick Cruz poses a question to fighters who retired with a 0 on their records.

Khabib Nurmagomedov prepares to fight Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October 2020.
Khabib Nurmagomedov prepares to fight Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October 2020.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

To say that Dominick Cruz went through some adversity as a fighter is an understatement. I personally can’t think of anyone else in combat sports who tore both ACLs, sat out three years, won back a world title, sat out another four years due to a string of new injuries, then came back and continued to compete at the top-ten level in his late 30s.

“The Dominator” indeed knows a thing or two about bouncing back from such deep difficulties. Understandably, he sees things differently, than, say Khabib Nurmagomedov, who always had his hand raised after every single fight.

Without mentioning Khabib’s name, Cruz raised a few questions to retired undefeated fighters in general during a recent episode of The MMA Hour.

I look at this whole sport from a completely different frame of mind these days than I ever looked at before. Because I’ve had to rewrite my belief systems as I’ve won and lost, won and lost.

That’s one of the reasons I’m here. I’d never felt that much loss two years in my life. And then to come back and win again after feeling that loss… there’s no understanding of yourself like that.

So any athlete who left the sport undefeated, I question: Are you really undefeated? Or did you not challenge yourself as hard as you could’ve? And if you did, what would it look like on the other side?

Anybody who leaves undefeated in this sport, I get it, you’re undefeated. But are you undefeated? Or could you have just pushed a little harder to get that next level? And get that loss and then come back and reclaim the loss with a win and see what your next level, what your next evolution in life is.

Cruz went on to explain how going through a loss is somewhat a necessary evil to know what you’re really made of.

It’s not all about just winning and being perfect. Nothing in life is that. You can’t dodge loss. You can’t dodge pain. You can’t dodge any of it. So what’s the point? You might as well just go right through it.

Because when it happens… the question is when it does happen, what are you gonna do with it? Are you gonna just give up and say, ‘I’m retired, I didn’t quit’? Or are you gonna get back on the horse and see what else you can be? See what you can get through. See what it looks like on the other side.

I was fortunate enough to have that experience and be that, and I’m still on that ride. And let’s see what comes next.

After getting back on the win column against Casey Kenney in March, Cruz will now attempt to put on a victory streak against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 269 on December 11.