The former king of the bantamweight division, Dominick Cruz (22-2) is set to make his Octagon return at UFC 219 on December 30, rumored to be headlined by Cris “Cyborg” and Holly Holm. While Cruz is looking for his way back to gold, a new generation is coming. Jimmie Rivera (21-1) has his sights set on not only beating Cruz but taking over the whole division.
Dominick Cruz’s coming for his throne
At UFC 207, headlined by Amanda Nunes and the returning superstar, Ronda Rousey, Dominick Cruz was set to defend his title against up-and-comer Cody Garbrandt, who trains out of Team Alpha Male. While Garbrandt looked to have a promising future, nobody knew what was coming. With Cruz dominating the 135lbs division for nearly ten years, it seemed as though nobody could stop him.
Cody Garbrandt on that December 30 night would shock the world, and while Cruz put up a fun fight, he could not keep up with Garbrandt’s speed and power, giving him the decision victory.
At UFC 219, it will be exactly one year since the former champion has stepped foot inside the octagon. More motivated than ever, Cruz will look to make a statement, in a chance to once again prove why he’s the #1 in the division.
Throughout his career, Cruz has found success through bantamweight, to the lightweight division, but has displayed his unorthodox style best within the 135lbs limit. From weird angles to unpredictable combinations, Cruz reigned as UFC bantamweight champion but for only a short time due to a battle with injuries. Following his first title defense against Demetrious Johnson, Cruz was injured and out of competition for three years, and after being stripped of the title and having a “warm-up fight” against Takeya Mizugaki, Cruz would once again suffer a setback injury, forcing him away from the octagon yet another two years.
Once healthy and injury free, Cruz would return, take his title back, defend it, and once again sit atop the division where he belonged, and at UFC 219, he looks to climb back up that hill, searching for his throne.
Jimmie Rivera will be the “next champ”
Riding a 20 fight win streak, ranked #3 Jimmie Rivera is also on a dominant tear within the bantamweight division, most recently obtaining wins over Iuri Alcantara, Urijah Faber, and Thomas Almeida. Now, he’ll look to do the same against the former champion, with his hopes set on becoming the champion.
We recently spoke with Rivera regarding the title picture and his standing. With plenty to say, Rivera is confident he will become the champion of the 135lbs division, it’s just a matter of time. He more recently left Cruz and the winner of Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw a message:
My message for (Dominick) Cruz is I’m taking his spot. I’m going to be next champ. His time of being on top is over. It’s time for the new generation, hungry generation.
15 of Rivera’s 21 wins have come by way of decision, grinding out is opponents for the victory. At UFC 219, expect a more aggressive approach, where “El Terror” Rivera will look to solidify a #1 position.
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