|Intro||American mixed martial artist|
|A.K.A.||Dominick Rojelio Cruz|
|Is||Sports commentator Athlete Mixed martial artist|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||3 September 1985, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, USA|
|Residence||Chula Vista, San Diego County, California, USA|
Dominick Rojelio Cruz (born September 3, 1985) is an American professional mixed martial artist, who is currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is a two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion and was also the final bantamweight titleholder of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). As of November 9, 2021, he is #10 in the UFC bantamweight rankings.
Cruz is noted for his unorthodox movement, powerful wrestling base, quick striking, and his tendency to attack from angles in a unique fashion unlike any other fighter on the UFC roster. He won the WEC bantamweight title in March 2010, and won the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Championship the following December. After defending the belt twice in 2011, Cruz was sidelined by injuries in 2012 and subsequently stripped of the title in 2014. On January 17, 2016, he regained the bantamweight championship with a split-decision win over T.J. Dillashaw. Numerous media outlets called this victory the greatest comeback story in MMA history.
Cruz was born on September 3, 1985, in San Diego, California, and is of Mexican descent. He lived with his single mother, grandmother, and brother in a trailer park in Tucson for most of his childhood. He started wrestling in seventh grade and competed all through high school out of Flowing Wells High School. After an injury that came in his senior year, he lost the opportunity of receiving a scholarship to wrestle at the University of Northern Colorado. Cruz worked as a customer service representative at Lowe's, and was studying to be a firefighter at community college before becoming a full time fighter.
Mixed martial arts career
Cruz began his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career in 2005, competing in the Rage in the Cage and Total Combat organizations. He amassed a record of 9-0 before joining World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).
World Extreme Cagefighting
His first fight in the WEC was at featherweight in a title fight against Urijah Faber in which he lost by guillotine choke in the first round. The fight would become the beginning of a longstanding cantankerous rivalry between the two.
He would then make his debut for the WEC's 135 lb bantamweight division on June 7, 2008, at WEC 34 defeating Charlie Valencia by unanimous decision.
Cruz went on to take decision victories against Ian McCall on January 25, 2009, at WEC 38 and April 5, 2009, Ivan Lopez at WEC 40.
Cruz defeated Joseph Benavidez on August 9, 2009, at WEC 42 by unanimous decision. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.
Cruz defeated Brian Bowles via TKO (doctor stoppage) on March 6, 2010, at WEC 47. Bowles was unable to continue after the second round after breaking his hand. Cruz became the new WEC Bantamweight Champion.
Cruz made his first title defense against Joseph Benavidez on August 18, 2010, at WEC 50. Cruz broke his left hand in the fight. The bout was a rematch of their contest at WEC 42, in which Cruz handed Benavidez his first career loss, via decision. Cruz would later defeat Benavidez again via split decision.
Cruz faced Scott Jorgensen on December 14, 2010, at WEC 53 for both the WEC Bantamweight Championship and the newly created UFC Bantamweight Championship. This bout would be the final Bantamweight Championship fight under the WEC banner and would also crown the inaugural UFC Bantamweight champion, making this the only UFC title fight to take place outside of the UFC. Cruz defeated Jorgensen via unanimous decision to retain the WEC Bantamweight Championship and become the first UFC Bantamweight Champion.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
On October 28, 2010, World Extreme Cagefighting merged with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). As part of the merger, all WEC fighters were transferred to the UFC.
A rematch with Urijah Faber took place on July 2, 2011, at UFC 132 being the first defense of the new UFC Bantamweight title. In a closely contested fight which saw Faber drop Cruz multiple times with strikes and Cruz landing multiple leg\body kicks, knees and takedowns, Cruz defeated Faber via unanimous decision to retain his championship and avenge the only loss on his record at that time.
Cruz defeated Demetrious Johnson via unanimous decision on October 1, 2011, at UFC on Versus 6, his second UFC title defense. Cruz's walk-out music is "Cruisin'," by Huey Lewis of Huey Lewis and the News and Gwyneth Paltrow. Cruz broke his right hand in the first round. Cruz was expected to face Urijah Faber for a third time for the UFC bantamweight championship after Faber defeated Brian Bowles at UFC 139 in a bantamweight title eliminator bout.
String of injuries
In December 2011, Cruz was selected to coach The Ultimate Fighter: Live against opposing coach Urijah Faber. The rubber match between Cruz and Faber was expected to take place on July 7, 2012, at UFC 148. However, on May 7, 2012, Cruz was forced to pull out of the bout citing a torn ACL.
On December 3, 2012, it was revealed that Cruz underwent another ACL surgery after his body rejected one from a cadaver, with an expected recovery time of six to nine months.
Cruz was scheduled to make his return on February 1, 2014, at UFC 169 in a unification bout with interim UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barão. However, on a January 6 episode of SportsCenter, UFC president Dana White announced that Dominick Cruz had torn his groin and vacated the UFC Bantamweight Championship; White promoted Barão to undisputed UFC Bantamweight Champion, and announced that Barão's first unified title defense would be against Urijah Faber at UFC 169.
After nearly three years away from the sport due to injuries, Cruz returned to the octagon on September 27, 2014, at UFC 178 where he faced Takeya Mizugaki. Cruz won the fight by KO in the first round by punches after getting a takedown. The win also earned Cruz his first Performance of the Night bonus award. At the post-fight press conference, Dana White confirmed that Cruz's next fight would be for the Bantamweight Championship against T.J. Dillashaw.
Subsequently, on December 22, 2014, Cruz indicated that he had torn the ACL in his other knee, which sidelined him through 2015.
Regaining the championship
After over four years since his last title fight, Cruz faced T.J. Dillashaw on January 17, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 81. He regained the title with a split-decision victory. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors. Many have cited the return and victory as one of the greatest comebacks in MMA history.
To complete their trilogy, Cruz defended his title against Urijah Faber on June 4, 2016, at UFC 199. He won the fight by unanimous decision.
Cruz faced Cody Garbrandt on December 30, 2016, at UFC 207. Garbrandt won the bout by unanimous decision to become the new UFC Bantamweight Champion. This was the first loss for Cruz in nearly 10 years. Months later, on The Joe Rogan Experience, Cruz revealed that he was plagued by plantar fascia tendinitis throughout training camp that made it difficult for him to walk at times.
Cruz was expected to face Jimmie Rivera on December 30, 2017, at UFC 219, however, on November 8, it was reported Cruz suffered a broken arm and he was forced to pull from the card.
Cruz was expected to face John Lineker on January 26, 2019 at UFC 233. It was reported on December 11, 2018 that Cruz injured his shoulder and pulled out of the fight. Subsequently, Cruz indicated that he expects to be out of competition for another year.
After more than a 3 year-layoff, Cruz replaced José Aldo and faced Henry Cejudo for the UFC Bantamweight Championship on May 9, 2020 at UFC 249. Cruz lost via TKO in the second round.
Cruz faced Casey Kenney on March 6, 2021 at UFC 259. He won the fight via split decision.
Cruz is scheduled to face Pedro Munhoz on December 11, 2021 at UFC 269.
Cruz combines constant lateral motion with precise, in-and-out striking. Known as one of the most agile fighters in MMA, he is noted for his quick footwork, head movement, and use of feints. He often attacks with combinations, step-in jabs, and single strikes thrown from all angles. In addition to his striking, Cruz has extensive training in amateur wrestling.
Championships and accomplishments
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- UFC Bantamweight Championship (Two times, first)
- Three successful title defenses (two during first reign, one during second reign)
- Fight of the Night (Three times)
- Performance of the Night (One time)
- Most wins in UFC/WEC Bantamweight History (13)
- Tied with T.J. Dillashaw for the most consecutive Bantamweight title defenses in UFC history. - (2)
- UFC Bantamweight Championship (Two times, first)
- World Extreme Cagefighting
- WEC Bantamweight Championship (One time, final)
- Two successful title defenses
- Fight of the Night (One time)
- Total Combat
- Total Combat Lightweight Championship
- Total Combat Featherweight Championship
- USA Today
- 2010 Fighter of the Year
- World MMA Awards
- 2014 Comeback Fighter of the Year
- 2015 Analyst of the Year
- 2016 Analyst of the Year
- 2017 Analyst of the Year
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|26 matches||23 wins||3 losses|
|Win||23–3||Casey Kenney||Decision (split)||UFC 259||March 6, 2021||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||22–3||Henry Cejudo||TKO (knee and punches)||UFC 249||May 9, 2020||2||4:58||Jacksonville, Florida, United States||For the UFC Bantamweight Championship.|
|Loss||22–2||Cody Garbrandt||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 207||December 30, 2016||5||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Lost the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Fight of the Night.|
|Win||22–1||Urijah Faber||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 199||June 4, 2016||5||5:00||Inglewood, California, United States||Defended the UFC Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||21–1||T.J. Dillashaw||Decision (split)||UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Cruz||January 17, 2016||5||5:00||Boston, Massachusetts, United States||Won the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Fight of the Night.|
|Win||20–1||Takeya Mizugaki||KO (punches)||UFC 178||September 27, 2014||1||1:01||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Performance of the Night.|
|Win||19–1||Demetrious Johnson||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson||October 1, 2011||5||5:00||Washington D.C., United States||Defended the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Later vacated due to recurring injuries.|
|Win||18–1||Urijah Faber||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 132||July 2, 2011||5||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Defended the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Fight of the Night.|
|Win||17–1||Scott Jorgensen||Decision (unanimous)||WEC 53||December 16, 2010||5||5:00||Glendale, Arizona, United States||Defended the WEC Bantamweight Championship. Won the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||16–1||Joseph Benavidez||Decision (split)||WEC 50||August 18, 2010||5||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Defended the WEC Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||15–1||Brian Bowles||TKO (doctor stoppage)||WEC 47||March 6, 2010||2||5:00||Columbus, Ohio, United States||Won the WEC Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||14–1||Joseph Benavidez||Decision (unanimous)||WEC 42||August 9, 2009||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||13–1||Iván López||Technical Decision (unanimous)||WEC 40||April 5, 2009||3||3:24||Chicago, Illinois, United States||Lopez was unable to continue after an unintentional knee on the ground by Cruz.|
|Win||12–1||Ian McCall||Decision (unanimous)||WEC 38||January 25, 2009||3||5:00||San Diego, California, United States|
|Win||11–1||Charlie Valencia||Decision (unanimous)||WEC 34||June 1, 2008||3||5:00||Sacramento, California, United States||Bantamweight debut.|
|Win||10–1||Kenneth Aimes||KO (punches)||Total Combat 27||March 22, 2008||1||N/A||Yuma, Arizona, United States|
|Loss||9–1||Urijah Faber||Submission (guillotine choke)||WEC 26||March 24, 2007||1||1:38||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||For the WEC Featherweight Championship.|
|Win||9–0||Shad Smith||Decision (unanimous)||Total Combat 18||November 4, 2006||3||5:00||San Diego, California, United States||Featherweight debut. Won the vacant Total Combat Featherweight Championship.|
|Win||8–0||Juan Miranda||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Total Combat 16||September 9, 2006||1||4:00||San Diego, California, United States||Won the vacant Total Combat Lightweight Championship.|
|Win||7–0||Dave Hisquierdo||Decision (split)||Total Combat 15||July 15, 2006||3||5:00||San Diego, California, United States|
|Win||6–0||Michael Barney||TKO (punches)||Rage in the Cage 79||February 24, 2006||1||2:45||Tucson, Arizona, United States|
|Win||5–0||Nick Hedrick||Decision (unanimous)||Rage in the Cage 75||September 30, 2005||3||2:00||Glendale, Arizona, United States|
|Win||4–0||Josh Donahue||TKO (punches)||Rage in the Cage 74||September 10, 2005||2||1:09||Casa Grande, Arizona, United States|
|Win||3–0||Tom Schwager||TKO (punches)||Rage in the Cage 73||August 6, 2005||1||0:56||Glendale, Arizona, United States|
|Win||2–0||Rosco McClellan||TKO (punches)||Rage in the Cage 70||June 11, 2005||2||1:26||Glendale, Arizona, United States|
|Win||1–0||Eddie Castro||Decision (split)||Rage in the Cage 67||January 29, 2005||3||3:00||Phoenix, Arizona, United States|