Legacy fight, anyone?
Both Dominick Cruz and Jose Aldo were WEC champions in their respective divisions, then UFC champions after the 2010 merger. They both went 2-0 in 2021 and are still very much relevant as title contenders.
Cruz recently appeared on The MMA Hour to discuss what’s next for him, and while nothing is set in stone, the former bantamweight king is interested in taking on the ex-featherweight titleholder.
“What I’m hearing most from people — I haven’t really made a decision, I haven’t talked to [UFC matchmaker Sean] Shelby or anything, but I’m hearing most that the old legacy fight that never happened between me and [Jose] Aldo is, like, right there,” Cruz said (via MMA Fighting). “And I think that that does it. I can completely understand that. I get how that’s an interesting fight for the world. To fight Aldo, it’s an honor.”
Cruz (24-3) took a split decision over Casey Kenney at UFC 259 for his first win since his title defense vs. Urijah Faber in June 2016. After getting dropped and badly hurt by Pedro Munhoz at this month’s UFC 269, Cruz recovered and outstruck Munhoz to win a unanimous decision and get Fight of the Night honors.
Aldo (31-7) put together perhaps his most impressive bantamweight fight to date earlier this month when he defeated Rob Font by five-round unanimous decision. He’s also recorded decisions over Pedro Munhoz and Marlon Vera as part of his three-fight winning streak, and maybe just maybe there’s a scenario where he could get one last title shot.
“Think of the things this dude’s done,” Cruz said of Aldo. “And he’s also been through the ups and downs of his career, and now made his way back in an extremely respectful form. So that fight, I understand how that can make sense. But I’m going to sit down and, you know, we’ve got to do the talks and see what happens. But you know me — I show up and I do my job, and I’m not a pick-and-chooser. Obviously people have been calling me out my whole career, people have been comparing me to other people my whole career.
“I’ve done a really good job of not allowing that to make my decisions for me on my own end, and I’m not going to start doing that now. So let’s just see where we go.”
Hey, it might not happen next but I’m sure there are plenty of fans who would love to see this matchup come to fruition.