“This knee was much easier to fix than the first one. I looked great after double ACL surgery coming back, and I know for a fact that I will do it again against T.J. It’s pretty basic. The division, while we do have a lot of guys moving around, what’s really changed? The champion right now, has lost to two different people in the same division. One of them, finished him and was at 125 [lbs], and that’s John Dodson. That’s the champion at 135 [lbs] right now. Got knocked out by Dodson. He’s very very beatable, and that’s been proven. You haven’t proven a lot of ways to beat me since 2007, when I was 21 years old, working 40 hours a week while I was training. The only thing these guys have to hold on to in beating me, is the fact that I’ve been out for four years. That’s what’s going to be scary. I’m out four years, and I’m still going to beat you. So then what?”
-Dominick Cruz talks to La Aficion about his return to the bantamweight division, and why he feels he’s still the best in the world despite just one fight in the last four years (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com).
Penick’s Analysis: Cruz absolutely looked great in his return last year against Takeya Mizugaki, and has always been a fantastic fighter. If he comes back without any adverse issues from this latest knee injury, he’ll have his chance to prove everything he’s been saying in the last several months. He’s shown little respect for T.J. Dillashaw as a champion, and to be fair to him he doesn’t really need to show any respect. He never lost that title, and has every right to see those competing for it in his absence as below him until proven otherwise. That’s Dillashaw’s opportunity come January, and we’ll find out which of them proves themselves as the top man at 135 lbs.