Cruz Getting Title Shot In First Fight Since December 2016
UFC president Dana White has defended the decision to give Dominick Cruz a title shot.
Cruz is set to challenge Henry Cejudo for the bantamweight title in the co-main event of UFC 249 on May 9. It will be his first fight back since losing his title to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 back in December 2016.
Many have criticized the decision as they feel Cejudo should be facing more worthy contenders such as Petr Yan, Cory Sandhagen or Aljamain Sterling. But for White, Cruz is still one of the best fighters in the world despite his plaguing injuries and that alone, makes him worthy enough in his eyes.
“He’s still one of the best in the world,” White told ESPN in a recent Instagram Live session. “He’s one of the best in the world. He’s a guy who has been incredibly plagued with injuries throughout his career. But he’s still looked at as one of the best in the world.”
Before Cruz, Cejudo was set to face former featherweight king Jose Aldo — currently on a two-fight losing streak — until the latter was stuck in Brazil and unable to compete next month.
Rather than campaign for fights against the top contenders in his division, the bantamweight king has regularly targeted bigger names not on winning streaks.
But White is understanding of why that is the case.
“For a guy like Henry Cejudo, who literally is willing to fight anybody and wants to fight all the best – you want Jose Aldo, the Dominick Cruz’s and those kind of guys on your resume,” he added.
UFC 249 will be headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. It will take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.