clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dominick Cruz wants top-5 name next: ‘I’m coming back this year, and we’re winning the title’

Cruz wants to keep climbing the bantamweight ladder and is aiming for a top 5 name for next fight.

Dominick Cruz is eyeing someone in the top five of the bantamweight division for his return this year.

Cruz has not fought since defeating Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision in a ‘Fight of the Night’ awarded appearance at UFC 269 this past December. The former UFC bantamweight champion does not have a fight scheduled but would prefer if it was against someone ranked above him.

“I’m ready,” Cruz told The Schmo. “I’m training nonstop. I just want to face somebody who’s above me in the division, not underneath me on the ladder. I’ve been fighting for a long time. I don’t deserve anything, but moving up the ladder doesn’t sound like anything other than logic.

“I’m coming back this year, and we’re winning the title. We are winning the title, if not this year, the next year, but each fight is getting closer to that goal.”

A championship opportunity could come soon, but Cruz has no issue beating a few contenders before he gets awarded one. However, he would have an issue if a reportedly returning former champion was given a chance at Aljamain Sterling for his first fight in nearly two years.

Henry Cejudo has been teasing his return to competition for months, going as far as re-entering the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool and holding a meeting with Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell and matchmaker Sean Shelby. ‘Triple C’ targeted a fight against Alexander Volkanovski but has shifted his focus to Sterling. Though he may feel deserving of an immediate shot at the ‘Funk Master,’ Cruz believes Cejudo should fight his way into contention again.

“If I don’t get the shot, I don’t get the shot, but I’m beating the people I need to beat,” said Cruz. “I’m on a two-fight win streak. We’re naming people who haven’t even been in the USADA testing pool for over a year. So people who have been outside of the USADA testing pool, why are they even in the debate for a title? That doesn’t make any sense to me. So the only people in the debate for a title are the people who have been actively putting their careers on the line, and that’s everybody who’s been in the division actively. If you haven’t been active in the division, get to the back of the line, period.”

Cruz has several options to consider for his next outing, including a potential rematch against Cejudo. Cruz suffered a second-round technical knockout loss to Cejudo at UFC 249, where the ‘Dominator’ protested the stoppage.

“I want to move up,” said Cruz. “Give me somebody in the top five. Give me an Aldo, give me a Petr Yan, give me a Aljamain Sterling. You know what? Give me the rematch with Cejudo when he gets his s—t together. I don’t care. Let me be the first person he faces until he gets right back in the division if he wants. I got no beef with him.”