When Dominick Cruz steps into the cage on Saturday night to face Brian Bowles for the WEC bantamweight title, it won't be the same guy who faced Urijah Faber in a title shot three years ago.
"I've got three years experience in the WEC [since the last title fight,]" Cruz said. "I learned a lot about media, about questions that are going to be asked, and judgments that are going to be made, how to brush them off, how to take everything in stride, how to not let your head get big."
Since that loss to Faber -- a first-round guillotine submission -- Cruz has been on a five-win streak. Those wins have given him the confidence to happily take the title shot. Bowles is known for finishing fights, but that doesn't bother Cruz.
"I think I can finish anybody in my division. I think I have the power. I think I have the skill. I think I have everything it takes. It just hasn't happened yet. I'm not going to force it. I'm going to do what I've done in my past five fights, and that's to go out there and get the 'W' and put a great fight on for the fans."
Like his opponent, Cruz is hardly a well-known fighter, especially when you consider that the two are in a title fight. Being overlooked by fans and media doesn't bother Cruz.
"They been from day one. That's OK. Keep overlooking. People aren't going to overlook me after this fight. I'm going to do big things. I'm not going anywhere. You can't get rid of me. I'm like a little tick on a dog. Just keep sucking and sucking and do whatever I've got to do to win. I just keep making people bleed and I'm going to get well-known."