Sports are finally back and no I’m not talking about the kind with a bunch of guys playing with balls. I’m talking about REAL sports.
UFC 249’s co-main event is for the lineal Bantamweight championship. Cejudo has been heralding himself the greatest combat sport athlete of all time. We are in an era where if you want to be considered the greatest anything, all you have to do is beg for it. Cejudo might as well, he is an Olympic gold medalist after all. He is the lineal flyweight and bantamweight champion but is not basing his greatness claim on any type of longevity. Cejudo is however one hell of an athlete and has come a long way with his overall game.
A post shared by Henry Cejudo (@henry_cejudo) on Mar 11, 2020 at 1:11pm PDT
While Cejudo is not a small bantamweight, he is short compared to Cruz and his reach is as well. Cejudo mostly boxes and wrestles. He will kick when he is in boxing range, but is not a guy that can use kicks to control the spacing on the feet.
Across form Cejudo this Saturday will be Dominick Cruz, the greatest bantamweight of all time. This is not up for debate.
A post shared by Dominick Cruz (@dominickcruz) on Apr 19, 2020 at 10:55am PDT
Dominick Cruz is a defensive God. He is the closest thing to Floyd Mayweather defensively that this sport has ever seen. The way he uses his footwork to hit and evade at distance has never been recreated by anyone. His additional 4 inches in height and reach over Cejudo is just overkill. The way Cruz makes people miss is aggressive and almost makes you score his defense in his favor. You have to give the guy credit for consistently making championship level fighters miss four, five and six strikes in a row over and over again. The fight is still winnable for Cejudo who is so talented, but not for the reasons many people think.
A Common Adversary
Let’s start here. Many people will point to the Cejudo’s KO of Dillashaw and say, “See, TJ got KOd by Cejudo and TJ and Cruz have the same fighting style.” First of all, no they don’t. Secondly, TJ and Cruz have very different attributes.
TJ’s chin is good. It’s not questionable, but when anybody with good power hits him clean, they wobble him. TJ does however have more power than Cruz and makes sure to use it in competition.
A post shared by ufc (@ufc) on May 2, 2020 at 12:03pm PDT
There are almost no similarities in TJ Dillashaw’s fighting style and Dominick Cruz’s. TJ uses his footwork to get inside, plant his feet and throw powerful Muay Thai combinations. He will adjust his feet slightly to avoid counters and then immediately re-enter the pocket to keep landing shots. This is seen best in TJ’s 27-punch fight ending combo inflicted on Barão in 2015.
Cruz on the other hand is constantly moving in, out, and side to side. He strikes moving forward and backward. Cruz is constantly moving his feet, changing levels and will constantly exit the pocket whether his strikes are falling or not. There are very few instances where Cruz will square up with anyone. While not known for his power, his chin is very strong and he makes fighters look foolish in the octagon.
Road to Victory
The chances of Cejudo knocking out Cruz are slim to none. Not only does he not have the reach or style to touch Cruz consistently, he lacks the striking variety to make Cruz worry about anything. Cruz just has to do what he always does and will cruise to an easy decision victory.
A post shared by ufc (@ufc) on May 1, 2020 at 12:03pm PDT
At the same time, Cejudo has a solid chin as well and has shown that he can make major adjustments while physically compromised. His IQ is high enough to make the fight close enough even if he has trouble delivering threatening blows. The difference here will be the wrestling. If Cejudo can control Cruz for multiple minutes in multiple rounds on the ground he has a very good chance at victory. A victory for Cejudo should put him ahead of Khabib on the pound for pound list. A win for Cruz puts him in the running for the greatest fighter of all time.■