Dominick Cruz: Henry Cejudo winning at UFC 288 would’ve been ‘catastrophic’ for bantamweight division

Dominick Cruz is glad Henry Cejudo wasn’t able to reclaim gold at UFC 288.

Cejudo (16-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) lost a razor-thin split decision to bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (23-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) in this past Saturday’s main event at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Cruz (24-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC), who was knocked out by Cejudo three years ago at UFC 249, explained that Sterling as champion would be better for the bantamweight division.

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“I think that it would’ve been really catastrophic to have Henry there compared to Sterling,” Cruz said Monday on “The MMA Hour.” “I just think Sterling is gonna be much better for the 135-pound division as champion. I just think he’s more active, shows himself as a champion that I’m proud to say he’s the champion at 135, the way he carries himself, the way that he fights, the way that he shows respect, stuff like that. So it’s cool to have him now. I’m glad he’s champion.”

Cruz’s issue with Cejudo is what transpired after their fight. Cejudo retired after beating Cruz and returned from a three-year layoff to challenge Sterling. Former WEC and UFC bantamweight champion Cruz thinks Cejudo took an easy way out.

“Anybody who comes and wins the title and retires when they’re in their prime is trying to dodge pressure,” Cruz said. “If we’re in a group of 50 people, and we’re all training, all of us MMA fighters, we’re all in one room training. Let’s just say it’s a training session, and Henry knocks somebody out in the middle of that training session, and then walks off the mat and lets us all train for the next three hours, and then he comes back after three hours and goes, ‘OK, I’ll give you guys a chance to complete with me today.’

“He just rested for three hours. But we all kept working in the USADA testing pool, and while all these guys are staring at us, drooling ready to get that next spot. You know how much pressure that is? When I had three knee blowouts, a blown-out shoulder, busted hands, and I’m in the USADA testing pool, and I’ve got people calling me out every week, telling me that I need to get out there and compete. That’s a lot of pressure.”



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For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 288.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie