Dominick Cruz certainly isn’t lacking confidence.
The former UFC bantamweight champion, who lost his belt in 2014 because of injury and not a loss in the octagon, will have a chance to win it back Jan. 17 when he squares off against TJ Dillashaw at TD Garden in UFC Fight Night Boston.
While Cruz admits that Dillashaw is talented, he isn’t afraid to criticize other parts of his fighting life.
“Animosity? I just think that he’s a fake person,” Cruz told NESN.com on Wednesday. “There’s certain things that he portrays and acts like, but I think he’s just got more outside influences telling him things.
“He’s definitely been pimped out for the last few years, by Urijah Faber, by now Duane Ludwig. He’s wearing Bane every day. He’s just being pimped out by all these guys. He’s getting sponsored by Elevation Fight Team, how long is that really going to last? None of it’s real, and he’s just biting all into it and believing his own hype.
“That’s what I mean by fake. He is a champion, he is good, he can fight, but it’ll be seen I’m better.”
The trash talk comes with the territory, as Cruz admitted. As for the fight itself, it promises to be one of the most anticipated and exciting UFC events in a while.
Cruz has an unbeaten UFC record, Dillashaw is one of the most successful fighters of the last two years (5-0 since Oct. 2013), and both have successfully defended the bantamweight title at different points in their careers.
“TJ’s had a couple title fights, too. It’s pretty even, and that’s what makes this fight interesting,” Cruz said. “He understands what it takes to be a champion, I understand what it takes to be a champion, and we’re going to see who does it better.”
Thumbnail photo via Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dominick Cruz celebrates his knockout victory in the first round over Takeya Mizugaki during a bantamweight fight in UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports