On Sunday Dominick Cruz regained his title, defeating TJ Dillashaw via split decision at UFC Fight Night 81 and proving yet again that – despite the injuries that have plagued him over the years – he can still be an elite fighter.
Okay, so now what? Who should Cruz fight next?
Given the narrowness of the decision he earned against Dillashaw, a rematch would seem logical. But Dillashaw isn’t the biggest name in the division, so it’s hard to imagine ANOTHER fight between these two doing great numbers since the storyline going into this one was Cruz’s return from injury.
The notion of former champ Renan Barao getting a shot might hold some appeal. However, Barao got his ass utterly kicked by Dillashaw twice – how well do you think a stationary Brazilian will do against a fighter who moves around more than Dillashaw? (Answer: not well.)
Thankfully, there is someone else out there who might make for a compelling match-up. Granted he hasn’t been able to crack the ice surrounding the belt since the UFC took over the lighter weight classes, but he is at least a fighter with a following and a name. Yeah, I’m talking about Urijah Faber.
Here’s MMAFighting on that very topic:
Cruz, who was somewhat hesitant to commit to a third fight against long-time rival Urijah Faber following the win, told MMAFighting.com on Thursday that he’s now all in on the trilogy.
“For the past four years, the only name I’ve been asked about is Faber,” Cruz wrote via text message, “whether I’m on the FOX desk or shopping at the mall. Let’s get him out of my face and out of the way, so I can continue to clean out the division.
“We owe it to the fans to make this trilogy happen. It’s been almost a decade in the making.
Eh, what the heck. I’d watch that.