Dominick Cruz

T.J. Dillashaw Urijah Faber Joseph Benavidez
Dominick Cruz
Dom Cruz 2.png
Dominick Cruz during a USO show in 2017
BornDominick Rojelio Cruz
(1985-09-03) September 3, 1985 (age 35)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Nickname(s)The Dominator
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[1]
Weight135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st)
DivisionBantamweight (2008–present)
Featherweight (2006–2008)
Lightweight (2005–2006)
Reach69 in (175 cm)[2]
Fighting out ofSan Diego, California, U.S
TeamAlliance MMA
RankBlue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Lloyd Irvin[3]
Years active2003–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout7
By submission1
By decision14
By knockout1
By submission1
By decision1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Dominick Rojelio Cruz (born September 3, 1985)[4] 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 August 25, 2020, he is #11 in the UFC bantamweight rankings.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7][8]

Early life

Cruz was born on September 3, 1985, in San Diego, California, and is of Mexican descent.[9] 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.[10][11] 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.[12]


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.[13]

In addition to fighting, Cruz is an MMA analyst for ESPN.

Early 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).[14]

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.

Dominick Cruz after retaining his WEC Bantamweight Championship at the WEC 50 in August 2010

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.[15]

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.[16]

Cruz made his first title defense against Joseph Benavidez on August 18, 2010, at WEC 50.[17] Cruz broke his left hand in the fight.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] Cruz defeated Jorgensen via unanimous decision to retain the WEC Bantamweight Championship and become the first UFC Bantamweight Champion.[21]

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Bantamweight 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.[22]

A rematch with Urijah Faber took place on July 2, 2011, at UFC 132 being the first defense of the new UFC Bantamweight title.[23] 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.[24][25]

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.[18][26] 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.[27]

String of injuries

In December 2011, Cruz was selected to coach The Ultimate Fighter: Live against opposing coach Urijah Faber.[28] The rubber match between Cruz and Faber was expected to take place on July 7, 2012, at UFC 148.[29] However, on May 7, 2012, Cruz was forced to pull out of the bout citing a torn ACL.[30]

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.[31]

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.[32] 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.[33]

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.[34] Cruz won the fight by KO in the first round by punches after getting a takedown.[35] The win also earned Cruz his first Performance of the Night bonus award.[36] 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.[37]

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.[38] Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.[39] Many have cited the return and victory as one of the greatest comebacks in MMA history.[7][8]

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.[40]


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.[41] This was the first loss for Cruz in nearly 10 years.[42] 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.[43]

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.[44]

Cruz was expected to face John Lineker on January 26, 2019 at UFC 233.[45] It was reported on December 11, 2018 that Cruz injured his shoulder and pulled out of the fight.[46] Subsequently, Cruz indicated that he expects to be out of competition for another year.[47]


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.[48] Cruz lost via TKO in the second round.[49]

Fighting style

Cruz combines constant lateral motion with precise, in-and-out striking.[6][50] 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 angles.[6][50] In addition to his striking, Cruz has extensive training in amateur wrestling.[11]

Championships and accomplishments

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
25 matches 22 wins 3 losses
By knockout 7 1
By submission 1 1
By decision 14 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
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 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


See also


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  2. ^ "Print Fight Card - UFC 178 Johnson vs. Cariaso". Archived from the original on September 28, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  3. ^ Caron, Nick (July 3, 2011). "UFC 132: Did Dominick Cruz Take a Shot at Urijah Faber with Blue Belt Promotion?". Bleacher Report.
  4. ^ "Ariel Helwani's MMA Show: Episode 61". Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. Retrieved 2020-01-01.
  5. ^ "Rankings | UFC". Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  6. ^ a b c Stets, Michael (2016-01-18). "UFC Fight Night 81 results: Dominick Cruz delivers vintage performance, defeats T.J. Dillashaw to regain Bantamweight belt". Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  7. ^ a b Martin, Damon (2016-01-18). "Dominick Cruz just completed the greatest comeback in UFC history". Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  8. ^ a b "UFC Fight Night 81 Results: Dominick Cruz Regains Title with Split Decision Over TJ Dillashaw". 2016-01-18. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  9. ^ Retrieved 1 May 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Facebook, Facebook; Twitter, Twitter. "Dominick Cruz Is Unorthodox and Tough to Hit". LiveAbout. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  11. ^ a b Matherjan, Victor (2016-01-15). "Wrestlers Find Well-Worn Path to U.F.C. Title Bout". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  12. ^ "Dominick Cruz - Roadtrip Nation". Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  13. ^ "Dominick Cruz – Official UFC® Fighter Profile". 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  14. ^ "Dominick Cruz". Sherdog. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  15. ^ Morgan, John (August 10, 2009). "WEC 42 bonuses: Cruz, Benavidez, Bowles and Yahya earn $10K "fight night" awards". Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  16. ^ "Brian Bowles defends bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz at WEC 47 on March 6". 2009-12-11. Archived from the original on 2009-12-15.
  17. ^ "Cruz vs Benavidez For The Title In August". 2010-06-08.
  18. ^ a b "Gross Picture of the Day: Dominick Cruz's Hand". CagePotato.
  19. ^ "WEC 53 title doubleheader features Henderson vs. Pettis, Cruz vs. Jorgensen". 2010-09-27. Archived from the original on 2010-09-30.
  20. ^ "WEC 53: Dominick Cruz, Scott Jorgensen Fight To Be First UFC Bantamweight Champion". December 14, 2010.
  21. ^ "WEC 53 play by play and live results". December 16, 2010.
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  25. ^ Iole, Kevin (2012-02-26). "UFC 132: Cruz claims rematch over Faber". Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  26. ^ "UFC Quick Quote: Dominick Cruz Beat Demetrious Johnson With A Broken Hand *VIDEO*".
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  29. ^ "Champ Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber III targeted for UFC 148 in Las Vegas". February 10, 2012.
  30. ^ Martin, Damon (May 7, 2012). "Dominick Cruz Injured, Out of UFC 148". Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  31. ^ "UFC Champ Dominick Cruz's Return Pushed Back By Second ACL Surgery". 2012-12-03.
  32. ^ "Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas, Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barao set for UFC 169". 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
  33. ^ "Dominick Cruz withdraws from fight". Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  34. ^ Erickson, Matt (2014-07-08). "Dominick Cruz set for return at UFC 178 vs. Takeya Mizugaki". Retrieved 2014-07-08.
  35. ^ Fowlkes, Ben (2014-09-27). "Dominick Cruz finally returns for quick TKO of Takeya Mizugaki". Retrieved 2014-09-27.
  36. ^ Erickson, Matt (2014-09-28). "UFC 178 bonuses: McGregor, Cruz, Romero, Kennedy earn $50,000". Retrieved 2014-09-28.
  37. ^ Martin, Damon (2014-12-22). "Dominick Cruz suffers another ACL injury, timeline for return unknown". Retrieved 2014-12-22.
  38. ^ Brookhouse, Brent (2016-01-18). "UFC Fight Night 81 results: Dominick Cruz regains title with split over T.J. Dillashaw". Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  39. ^ Critchfield, Tristen (2016-01-18). "UFC Fight Night Bonuses: Cruz, Dillashaw, Herman, Sanders pocket $50K checks". Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  40. ^ "UFC 199 results: Dominant again, Dominick Cruz retains 135 title with decision over Urijah Faber". 2016-06-05.
  41. ^ Doyle, Dave (2016-12-31). "UFC 207 results: Cody Garbrandt stuns Dominick Cruz for bantamweight title". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  42. ^ Al-Shatti, Shaun (2016-12-31). "Even in defeat, Cruz 'enjoyed every second' of Garbrandt fight". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  43. ^ Mills, George (2017-02-26). "Dominick Cruz reveals horrific injury left him unable to WALK before Cody Garbrandt fight". Daily Star. Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  44. ^ "Dominick Cruz injured, out of UFC 219 fight vs. Jimmie Rivera". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  45. ^ Staff (2018-12-05). "Dominick Cruz set for return vs. John Lineker at UFC 233 after two-year layoff". Retrieved 2018-12-05.
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  47. ^ Ordoñez, Milan (2018-12-17). "Dominick Cruz expected to be sidelined for a year due to shoulder injury". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  48. ^ Martin, Damon (2020-04-27). "Dana White defends Dominick Cruz receiving title shot after nearly four years off". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  49. ^ Campbell, Morgan; Draper, Kevin (10 May 2020). "U.F.C. 249 Live Updates and Results". New York TImes. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
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  52. ^ "UFC 207 bonuses: Nunes, Garbrandt, Cruz, Garcia receive $50K awards". 2016-12-30.
  53. ^ "UFC 178 bonuses: McGregor, Cruz, Romero, Kennedy earn $50K rewards". 2014-09-27.
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