Dominick Cruz made a statement to the rest of the UFC’s bantamweight division Saturday night at UFC 178, returning from almost three years away due to injury to run through Takeya Mizugaki.
“The Dominator” needed just 61 seconds to finish Mizugaki, earning his 20th career win. Earlier this year, Cruz was stripped of the UFC bantamweight title after suffering a groin injury. He had two knee surgeries that also kept him on the sidelines.
“I don’t remember (any of the fight),” he said. “I was blacked out in there. I have no idea.”
Cruz (20-1) couldn’t help but be happy after finally getting his chance to compete again. Despite the extended layoff, he never thought about stepping away from action.
“I always knew I would make it back,” Cruz said. “In my heart, I knew. It’s been tough, I’m not going to deny that.”
After defeating Demetrious Johnson, Cruz was cast as a coach on the first live season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Urijah Faber. A third meeting between the two was planned, but Cruz went down in training with the knee injury. Now, Faber’s teammate, T.J. Dillashaw, holds the belt and Cruz didn’t let the opportunity go by with the microphone in hand.
“I look forward to beating up more Alpha Males,” he said.