At UFC Boston back in 2016, when Dominick Cruz defeated TJ Dillashaw for the bantamweight title, almost everyone was stunned. Cruz entered the fight as an underdog and hadn’t competed in any fight in over 15 months. The win was legendary and is considered as one of the greatest comeback stories in MMA history.
What fans MMA across the world felt was best put by Damon Martin, then of FOX Sports. “While crazy trash talk often rules the headlines, Cruz’s victory should be seen as one of the most uplifting stories to ever take place in sports, not just mixed martial arts. There are likely dozens upon dozens of professional athletes who would have gone through half of what Cruz suffered and called it a career and said enough is enough.”
So with the UFC announcing a comeback fight for Cruz against Henry Cejudo, it is hard not to wonder if he’ll be able to script another glorious comeback. Since losing the title to Cody Garbrandt in December 2016, Cruz hasn’t fought even once. He was scheduled to compete against Jimmie Rivera in December 2017 but had to pull out due to a broken arm. This was followed by a fight booked at UFC 233 against John Lineker, but he injured his shoulder and could not compete.
All the while, Henry Cejudo has been on a warpath. He’s been undefeated for over three years now and was until very recently a two-weight champion. In his 5-fight winning streak, he has managed to secure wins over Demetrious Johnson, T.J Dillashaw, and Marlon Moraes. Which makes this fight even more interesting. When Cruz was finally set for his return, Dillashaw too had been on a similar streak. Just like Cejudo, he had defeated a dominant champion in Renan Barao. However, the fundamental difference here was that Cruz had been undefeated in his UFC run back then. This time around things won’t be that way.
This bantamweight title fight is one that most fans will be paying very close attention to. With one question in mind: Can Cruz get it done? Or essentially, will history repeat itself?