Dominick Cruz was on colour commentary for the Cris Cyborg vs. Lina Lansberg event last weekend alongside Jon Anik and I thought he did an awesome job. He provided insight and information with the right dose of personality, charisma, and passion for the sport.
With the news that both he Daniel Cormier will start to make the transition from the Fox studios to the broadcast booth, I feel we have two worthy successors to Joe Rogan at last. Make no mistake, I do like Brian Stann. He is, after all, “the greatest living American,” according to Mr Anik at least. I just find him to be far too preppy and enthusiastic about everyone to the point that he comes across as the propaganda poster boy of the UFC.
With Cruz and Cormier, I think that they will both inform and educate the general public. There are a lot of people who watch MMA who don’t know exactly what a Gomorrah, Omoplata, or Knee Bar is and all they see are two guys rolling around on the mat, so it will help to have these two explain and inform. Cruz in particular is known for his game planning, coaching, and dedication so I look forward to his analysis immensely,
It is also an exciting time for him in his fighting career. Having performed a small miracle in coming back from three years out to regain his Bantamweight Championship against T.J. Dillishaw in a very close, but clear decision win, he now has a wealth of options in front of him.
As the Bantamweight Champion, he has the two deserving contenders in Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillishaw doing everything in their power to garner his attention. T.J. even went as far as offering a $100,000 bet that he could beat Cruz in a potential rematch. Personally, I think this smacks of a desperation move, but if he was to be overlooked for Garbrandt, then he would most likely have to face Bryan Caraway which will not to do much for his standing, so I understand what he is trying to do.
Cruz has always been particularly dismissive of a rematch with Dillishaw. “I don’t care about that motherf—- at all,” he said. “I beat that dude three years off the couch. I beat him. He got me at 75 percent. So, the fact that he thinks he beat me is nonsense.”
Time has come for Dominick Cruz to breakthrough into superstardom. His career is a quite frankly ridiculous 22-1. The only man he ever lost to is Urijah Faber, but he came and avenged that loss, not once, but twice. He is not fighting tomato cans, either. Aside from “The Californian Kid,” he has also beaten Joseph Benavides, Brian Bowles, Scott Jorgensen, Ian McCall, and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
The Bantamweight Champion is in a position where he could potentially line up a super fight for himself. With Demetrious Johnson being the consensus pound-for-pound no. 1 fighter (MMATorch’s September Rankings have Johnson no. 1 and Cruz no. 3 in P4P), that fight has appeal, especially as he already owns a win over the Flyweight Champion. The only spanner in the works for that plan is the current season of The Ultimate Fighter which is trying to find a challenge for the Flyweight Champion.
He could even move up in weight and fight Jose Aldo and fight at 145 lbs., something far more likely if Conor McGregor was to be stripped of his Featherweight Championship. That fight holds so many questions and intrigue, I would be begging the UFC to take my money so I could watch it.
From having his career taken from him, in the prime of his athletic life, to come back to claim his belt that he never lost is an amazing feat. His movement, technique, and in-ring intelligence has set him apart and moved him far ahead of every fighter in his division.
Now, at age 31, he has a new career in broadcasting and a genuine chance of an intriguing super fight, something that the UFC often teases, but rarely delivers on. Now with a color commentary job to go alongside his Alliance MMA captaincy and his Bantamweight Championship, he is one of the busiest men in the sport. If anyone can cope with it, I believe that Cruz is that man.
NOW READ CHRISTOPHER KING’S PREVIOUS COLUMN: KING: The enduring charm of the UFC Heavyweight division and why it’s still a gateway for many casual fans to hardcore fandom
(Christopher King of Arundel, England is a new MMATorch contributor. He got hooked on MMA after watching UFC 114 featuring “Rampage” Jackson vs. Rashad Evans and from there, he says, “I spent a ridiculous amount of money and time watching every event from UFC 1 up to the present so I could understand the history of the sport, the fighters, the weight divisions and everything else in between. It was the style of fighting that drew me in, in order to see what martial art was the most effective, and from there, the fighters themselves, their story, their training and the sacrifices that they go through.” Follow him on Twitter – @ChristofKing)