Comments Off on Dominick Cruz looking to burn ‘poster boy’ Uriah Faber in 135lb title fighter

Dominick Cruz looking to burn ‘poster boy’ Uriah Faber in 135lb title fighter

The seven UFC champions lined up on stage in Toronto in April pre-weigh in for St Pierre v Shields at UFC 129. It cut quite a sight. It was a first, too. All in suits…

Cain Velazquez, the heavyweight champ, Jon Jones at light-heavyweight, Anderson Silva at middleweight, Georges St-Pierre at welterweight, Frankie Edgar at lightweight, Jose Aldo at featherweight and in the lightest weight category, at 135lbs, Dominick Cruz – the bantamweight champion.

Cruz sat quietly (as, indeed, did Edgar). “I’m probably the least well-known of the seven champions right now, because my fight on July 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is actually the first bantamweight title fight in UFC history,” says Cruz, the former champion of the WEC league, which was absorbed into the UFC last year.  His WEC title became the UFC title.

Cruz knows what that means. “There’s pressure on me the show UFC fans what the 135-pound division is all about. I used to be one of those fighters who thought that all being a fighter, or champion, involved training hard and winning in the cage. I didn’t appreciate that being a world champion is a 24-7 job and involved a lot of time and effort outside of the gym. I’m trying to play catch-up on marketing myself but, ultimately, I still want fans to judge me on my performances in the Octagon.”

They are calling this match-up between Cruz and Uriah Faber as the biggest bantamweight fight in the sport’s history. “The fight is not only the biggest in terms of being the first bantamweight title fight in UFC history, but also the most important fight of my life because of who I am fighting. Uriah Faber, the challenger, is the only guy to beat me in my 18-fight career.”

Cruz has few brotherly feelings for Faber, one of the golden boys of the sport, who is extremely popular. “Just like I feel I have been under-promoted, Faber has been over-promoted. He was the darling, the actual poster boy, of the WEC. Faber is a master of self-promotion and he worked hard at marketing himself.”

But Cruz, a formidable fighter who has literally been dismantling opponents of late with great movement, mobility, versatility and power, is harnessing what he feels is an injustice for his confrontation with Faber.  “What does piss me off  is just how much Faber was the favourite in the WEC. When I fought Faber for the featherweight title four years ago, I wasn’t even on the poster. To me, that’s just plain disrespectful.”

“Fighting for a world title is something even very good fighters never get the chance to do, it is something your entire family, your friends and your gym are proud of. For the entire poster to be of Urijah — as if he was fighting himself or something — was just completely disrespectful but it tells you all you need to know about how he was the golden boy, the “face of the WEC.”

Cruz showed how he felt by autographing the poster all over Faber’s face. Now there is a level playing field.

“In life, you just come across people you just don’t like. Faber and I are like that. We’ll never get along. Uriah Faber can be remembered as the ‘face of the WEC’. That’s fine. But what he won’t be remembered for is being the UFC bantamweight champion. Faber has wanted to be a UFC champion literally since he was a kid. It’s going to be a great night – making history in the UFC and avenging my only loss against someone I’ve no time for all in one fight.” Game on.

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