TUESDAYS NEWS DIGEST 10/11: Cruz makes his case for being on a short list of future McGregor opponents (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Dominick Cruz (photo by Bob DeChiara © USA Today Sports)


Even though Conor McGregor has his hands full at UFC 205 next month, and he fights at least one weight class below him, that’s not stopping Dominick Cruz from adding his name to the list of those who want to fight the current UFC Featherweight Champion.

On Saturday’s UFC 204 post-fight show on FS1, current Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz answered a fan’s Twitter question on air about whether he would want to fight McGregor were he to move up in weight. Cruz went on to make his case for why he could beat McGregor at either 145 or 155 lbs.

“Look everyone’s calling out Conor McGregor, and I don’t want to be another guy because everybody wants that fight,” he said. “But, the thing is, McGregor is picking his own fights. So that’s not up to me, it’s not up to UFC, it’s up to McGregor. Now I know as much as McGregor, and more, about this sport than anybody and it seems that the only way to beat McGregor is with your mind. I know I can do that and I know that I can also technically beat him. And I know that at 145 pounds I am extremely fast and hard to deal with. I can beat McGregor, absolutely. And I would love to fight him at 145 pounds or 155 pounds if he wins the title. I don’t care, I’m the champion and my style is built for moving up in weight classes because I don’t take damage.”

So Cruz was realistic in recognizing that McGregor is the one calling the shots here, but he makes a compelling case for his potential success at a higher weight class, whether it’s against McGregor or not. While Cruz still has intriguing fights at 135, a move up to 145 or 155 in the future would make for some great dream fights. (Transcription from MMA Mania)

Hiscoe’s Analysis: I don’t think Cruz is thinking that seriously about moving up in weight, but it’s still fun to wonder “what if.” He still has fights with Cody Garbrandt, TJ Dillashaw, and John Lineker at 135 that are immediate possibilities. Then guys such as Jimmie Rivera, Bryan Caraway, and Aljamain Sterling are all a win or two away from being part of that conversation so there’s still plenty for Cruz to do at bantamweight as long as he can make the weight comfortably. I don’t expect McGregor to campaign for a fight with Cruz, but maybe he would see value in defeating the champion of another weight class, even if it’s not for the actual title.

As for other 145ers Cruz could face, a fight with Aldo would be a bit of a dream match from the WEC days and Cruz vs. Frankie Edgar would make for a very interesting tactical chess match, so there are fun fights for him there. I would worry about the smaller Cruz going up against the punching power of the top lightweights, even as elusive as he can be. Cruz’s best options are still at 135, assuming a McGregor fight doesn’t present itself.


-Josh Samman’s family has set up the Josh Samman MMA Foundation to help young athletes with “training expenses, travel expenses, and proper education on being a professional in the sport.” They are looking to raise $5,000 to get the foundation started.

-Former Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy has told MMA Fighting that he has begun training for an MMA career. Hardy, 28, does not have a martial arts background but played six season in the NFL, made the 2013 Pro Bowl, and holds the Panthers single-season and single-game sack records. He is looking to take his first fight in 2017 as a heavyweight.

-Kevin Ray Sears will step in to replace the injured Josh Copeland at WSOF 34 against Smealinho Rama on Nov. 12 from Loveland, Colorado. (LINK)

NOW CATCH UP ON YESTERDAY’S REPORT: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST: McGregor punishment issued by Nevada Athletic Commission, Anderson Silva-GSP rumors, UFC sale, Bellator

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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