Dominick Cruz had one of his best performances in years at UFC 269 when he won a comeback battle against Pedro Munhoz after being abandoned in the first round.
Even if Cruz doesn’t remember it exactly.
Speaking this week on MMA time, the former UFC bantamweight champion revealed he lost time in the Octagon during the 10-second period that started with him with a hard left hook from Munhoz and ended in a yet another desperate fall on one leg following another powerful left hook from the Brazilian contender.
“You can’t be completely happy when you’re let go, ever. And I didn’t know it happened, “admitted Cruz on MMA time. “When I’m in the fight, you’re just in the fight. To be honest, when I was in the fight and it happened, the only things I saw was we got into a fight and I missed a shot from my pivot, and then when I ‘Missed, I got up, and the jamming knocked me off balance. But I had no idea that I had been hit at all. So I just thought my balance was out of the fight.
“Things just seemed dreamy, I guess. But you don’t know you’re hurt. You’re just sort of – you’re right in it. And then I guess he hit me there, and now that I’ve seen the movie, he hit me with a hook again when I leaned against the fence, and it kinda got me attached to a single. So in my head, I hit the fence with one leg. There were no punches. So I’m on one leg and then I go down and [the rest] does not exist. It’s as if this moment in time never existed. I didn’t receive any punches during this whole moment, in my own head.
Cruz said he remembered everything that followed his impromptu waking up while in his one-legged dismount – and he was lucky for that.
“The Dominator” lived up to its namesake and dominated the final 10 minutes of the bout to clinch the victory by unanimous decision to cap their comeback year with a 2-0 record in 2021.
“Everything else, I was there,” said Cruz. “I was completely there. My body went on full autopilot [during the sequence where I was hurt], sure – but that’s why, to me, having the sparring rounds is so important, because you’re not always the hammer.
“You can try to prepare as best you can, but if you’re the nail in this, do you have the sleeves to not finish?” Because I was the highlight in practice when you face two, three guys in a five-round session. It’s hard not to be a star when you’re up against two or three guys. And so being in those times when I’m rocked in training, and these guys always come after to kill me in training, these are the rounds where you find out who you are, to show up those nights and be ready to die. . “
Cruz is now heading into 2022 with a lot of momentum on his back after recovering as a title contender at 135 pounds.
It’s a remarkable achievement for the 36-year-old former WEC Champion, who started his MMA career in 2005 and has been forced to overcome adversity every time.
In many ways, injuries and long layoffs defined Cruz’s run in the UFC – but so too has Cruz’s ability to persevere despite the hardships, no matter how bad his setbacks may be. serious. Cruz has shown that resilience again against Munhoz, and as he moves forward into the New Year, he’s just grateful that he can play at a high level after all that’s been done to him.
“You have a lot of time to think about when you’ve had so many injuries and so many ups and downs in my career as I have had,” said Cruz. “Lots of time to think. Lots of time to think. And it’s actually the greatest gift, because when was the last time you didn’t do anything?
“It’s one of the hardest things you can do is do nothing. And when you are injured, you have little to do. So you have to find a new way of doing something, and that new something has to be your inner journey. What inner journey can you find? Because it is also martial arts. When you go to a martial arts boot camp, you go through an inner journey, all the ups and downs and challenges of setbacks that have happened to you.
“So it’s a crazy race and I’m grateful to have been able to challenge myself on stage,” continued Cruz. “It’s the best organization in the world for the level of athletes I can compete with. They can challenge me and I challenge them.