Dominick Cruz to Conor McGregor after UFC 264: ‘How do you grow’ without accepting defeat?

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Dominick Cruz is not a fan of the way Conor McGregor handled his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264.

McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) was defeated by Poirier (28-6 MMA, 20-5 UFC) for the second consecutive time on Saturday, suffering a broken tibia and fibula in a TKO loss due to doctor’s stoppage in the first round.

The Irish superstar was irate afterward, claiming that the second round would have been a different story had he not injured his leg. McGregor had a hard time accepting the loss, lashing out at Poirier and his wife by lobbing up death threats.

While his post-fight antics were concerning, Cruz (23-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) thinks McGregor will never grow as a fighter if he fails to assess what went wrong in the fight.

“After multiple losses like that, you tend to sit on your hands and shut up,” Cruz said on the UFC 264 post-fight show. “We’re not seeing that. We’re not seeing the silence. We’re not seeing the humility. We’re not seeing the vulnerability that he put on place to put himself in a position where you may or may not win. You’re not exercising the vulnerability that, yeah, you just showed that you lost. This is the game. There’s a position where you get smashed sometimes, and you have to accept that as a fighter. That is part of why we do martial arts, is to accept the losses and the wins and grow from them. When you don’t accept these losses, how do you grow? How do you fill the gap?”

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Cruz, the former UFC bantamweight champion, delivered a bone-chilling speech after getting dethroned by Cody Garbrandt in 2016 and was highly commended for the way he handled the loss. However, when he returned almost four years later to challenge then-champ Henry Cejudo for the 135-pound title, he didn’t take that defeat quite as well.

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Cruz was unhappy with his stoppage loss, accusing referee Keith Peterson of smelling like alcohol and cigarettes. But in Cruz’s defense, he has shown more resolve than just about any fighter on the roster by constantly returning from career-threatening injuries. He was able to snap his two-fight losing skid by edging out Casey Kenney in his most recent outing at UFC 259.

“There’s been times where I’ve felt not right with my stoppages, but I still take responsibility for the loss itself,” Cruz added. “I still put myself in that position to lose and when you take responsibility, you can start shifting from the loss. We’re not seeing that, and that’s what I think is gonna stop him the most from succeeding moving forward.”

McGregor has a long road to recovery ahead of him. “The Notorious” underwent a successful three-hour surgery on Sunday, and a six-week timeline is expected for his recovery.

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