Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is still battling for title contention, but is waiting to see what happens between Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 217. Cruz thinks that Cody is still trying to fill the shoes of champion, as sometimes you’ve gotta do things you don’t necessarily feel like doing.
Dominick spoke on the UFC Unfiltered Podcast about the current title situation.
“We’ve heard Cody talk about his back a lot. He’s had a lot of pain in it. The thing is, he’s not going to pull out of this fight, so welcome to being a champ. I said at the post-fight press conference after we fought; I said, it’s one thing to get the belt, it’s another thing to keep it after you’ve earned it and defend it, he’s had it a year and hasn’t defended it yet. Now he’s up and he has to pay the piper. He’s got to show up and fight,” the former UFC bantamweight champ declared.
Cruz said that Garbrandt needs to assume his responsibilities as champion and that means having to do everything that goes with holding the title.
“Part of the responsibility of a champion is to not just show up for yourself, but you’ve got to kind of build the division. He’s got to be there and fight TJ on this big card in New York with GSP (Georges St-Pierre) because it helps promote the division. That’s what makes it tough. Sometimes the UFC needs you to take fights that you might not be 100-percent healthy for. Sometimes you’ve got to jump in there,” Cruz said.
Dominick believes that Cody needs this fight with T.J. Dillashaw, even if his back still isn’t feeling as good as he’d like it to.
“I think that’s somewhat what’s happening to Cody in this situation. He might not, from what he’s said he’s not one hundred percent, but he’s got to jump in there and take this fight. I think he might be playing his back up a little bit to kind of get T.J. more confident and then he’s going to come in there feeling a little bit better than he showed. It’s an interesting dynamic how this whole thing is playing out,” said Cruz.
Either way, Cruz says that Garbrandt will fight because it’s going to be the biggest payday of his career, especially with a returning Georges St. Pierre challenging Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title.
“I guarantee you that he doesn’t pull out of that fight because there’s too much money on hand. You’ve got GSP coming back. He’s going to get a share of the pay-per-views on that card. If GSP comes back and sells a million pay-per-views, you better believe he wants a piece of that million,” Cruz continued. “He’s not pulling out of this fight. We’re going to see that fight. He’s kind of tied into it for that paycheck.”