This rubber match was many years in the making as “Dominator” Cruz’s only professional loss was a submission loss to Faber early in the now defunct WEC. A second close decision win over Faber in the UFC left fans eagerly anticipating the future trilogy which should have taken place at the end of coaching against each other in TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) back in 2012.
Cruz suffered a knee injury in training camp to fight his TUF nemesis at UFC 148, and then befell a series of injuries that left everyone but Cruz questioning his future recovery and relevance. Cruz persevered and came back with a vengeance, tactically outpointing and out working Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 81 to take back the 135-pound strap he lost due to injury.
With the stage set for a bantam weight grudge-match for the ages, the two warriors did not disappoint with an aggressive and frenetic first round fraught with takedowns, frantic scrambles and heavy blows as they engaged head to head in the Octagon. In round two Cruz settled into the unorthodox and legendary stick-and-move he’s famous for, but was clearly sitting down on his punches and throwing with real power. His power paid off as he dropped Faber hard in round two with a sharp left hand.
Faber backed off into the third round and Cruz took over with his next-level footwork, angles and in-and- out offense, walking down Faber and out striking him for the remainder of the fight. Cruz’s power surfaced again as he dropped Faber in the fourth and went for the finish, as the seasoned veteran covered up, recovered, and finally found his feet again.
When the dust settled Cruz had out struck Faber all five rounds, leaving the judges an easy unanimous decision and near shut out with scores of 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46.
Cruz has now extended his amazing fight record in MMA to 22 pro wins and just one loss.
Up next: be on the look out for the rematch between Monster Energy’s Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz at UFC 202.
Dominick “Dominator” Cruz is one of Monster Energy’s elite MMA athletes along with Jon Jones, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, Chris “All-American” Weidman, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rory MacDonald, Cain Velasquez, Phil Davis, Michael Chandler and Daniel Cormier.