It's been a long road from obscurity to the edge of breaking through into the fighting elite for Dominick Cruz. Just over a year ago, he was on the non-televised portion of most WEC cards. Now, because of good timing and some impressive wins, the bantamweight has a chance to play spoiler and walk away with the 135 hardware.
Brian Bowles upset a WEC staple in Miguel Torres back in August at WEC 42. Because of injuries, Bowles has been on the shelf since. The WEC also is not fond of immediate rematches for champs who lose their belts, so when Cruz pulled a mild upset on Joe Benavidez at WEC 42, he moved to the front of the line. He knows that essentially he's filling a spot for the promotion, which has to be hoping Bowles-Torres II survives this test. Torres also is fighting on the card against Benavidez. But he's said even if Bowles loses, he'd rather fight the Georgian and not the new champ.
"I don't take that personally, not one bit," Cruz told Cagewriter. "I understand where Torres is coming from. We're going to end up matching up sooner or later."
Cruz (14-1, 4-1 WEC) said he hasn't won the title yet so he can't worry about "lack of respect talk" or any other drama in the 135 division. Cruz wants to make sure he solidifies himself as a top five or six guy at bantamweight and the paydays will come.
Follow Cruz on Twitter @thedomin8r