Rivalries don’t always last forever and that seems to be the case for Dominick Cruz.
Cruz vs. Garbrandt I
The former 2X UFC Bantamweight Champion not only has a history of championships, he also has a long history with fighters from Team Alpha Male. Cruz has had a big rivalry with the gym, fighting names like Urijah Faber, Joe Benavidez and Cody Garbrandt.
Cruz’s last title defense would come against Garbrandt in 2016, but not before a war of words ensued. The trash talk was immense between the champ and the challenger, with things getting very heated before the cage doors were locked.
When it was time to fight at UFC 207, ‘No Love’ showed no respect to the champ, who knocked down Cruz multiple times. Garbrandt would dance around, taunting him every second of the fight. Garbrandt would put on a clinic, outclassing Cruz on the feet.
Garbrandt would ultimately win the decision and the belt over the course of 5 rounds. This was the peak for the Team Alpha Male fighter, but who knew it would all go downhill from here.
Fall From Grace
Since winning his first UFC Championship, Garbrandt would lose his next 3 fights by KO. After suffering losses to TJ Dillashaw and Pedro Munhoz, ‘No Love’ returned to great form when he knocked out Raphael Assuncao in his lone fight in 2020. Everybody thought they had seen the return of the ‘old Cody’ that had defeated Cruz, but this mirage wouldn’t last long.
Garbrandt would once again suffer a losing streak, getting dominated by Rob Font and most recently getting knocked out by Kai Kara-France at UFC 269. The dreams of getting closer to another UFC Championship have been vanquished by these top contenders.
Cruz Shows Support For Garbrandt
However, all is not lost, according to Garbrandt’s former foe, Dominick Cruz.
“I know that Cody is a champion,” Cruz said at the UFC 269 post-fight press conference. “Obviously, in his heart and mind. I think he will get back on track.”
“He is still very young. Cutting down to 125 is, I don’t even know how that’s possible for him, but he made it work and he said it was easy so I think he’ll be fine. Just give the guy some time and let him find his bearings with his team or whatever he needs to find. I got nothing but faith in the guy.”
Dominick Cruz may have shared a rivalry with ‘No Love’ back in 2016, but come 2016, all Cruz can show to his fomer foe is love and respect. Unlike most people, he believes Garbrandt will get back on track in his new weight class.
Cruz extended his win streak to two, a few fights before Garbrandt got knocked out at UFC 269. Cruz himself, almost got KO’ed in round 1, but fought through adversity to get the win against Pedro Munhoz.