On November 4, in the co-main event of the stacked UFC 217, UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt will attempt to defend his title against an estranged teammate in former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw. This is, by all accounts, one of the biggest and best title fights in UFC bantamweight history, which is why it would truly suck if we lost it to injury. The good news, however, is that if either Garbrandt or Dillashaw is injured, former UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz is ready and willing to step in.
“I’M ALWAYS TRAINING, I’VE BEEN TRAINING THIS WHOLE TIME,” CRUZ SAID ON A RECENT EPISODE OFUFC UNFILTERED(H/TMMAMANIA). “FOR ME, THE TITLE SHOT IS IMPORTANT. I’VE EARNED THAT SHOT, I HELD THE BELT LONGER THAN ANYONE IN THIS DIVISION AND I HELP BUILD THE DIVISION.”
“I GAVE CODY THAT SHOT WHEN I COULD’VE FOUGHT T.J. AGAIN. I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS TO BUILD THE DIVISION. I BROUGHT ANOTHER GUY UP AND FOUGHT HIM FOR THE TITLE BECAUSE I WANTED ANOTHER GUY IN THE MIX. WE NEEDED THAT FOR THE DIVISION. IF ANY ONE OF THESE GUYS GETS HURT I WOULD LIKE TO SLIDE IN AND CHALLENGE FOR THE TITLE, 100-PERCENT.”
While Cruz is willing to replace an injured fighter at UFC 217, however, he doesn’t expect it to come to that.
“I DON’T THINK EITHER ONE OF THESE TWO GUYS ARE GOING TO PULL OUT OF THAT CARD, BECAUSE OF WHAT I SAID ABOUT THE PAY-PER-VIEW [PERCENTAGES] AND ALL THAT STUFF. I THINK THEY WILL BE THERE. AND I HOPE THEY ARE SO THEY CAN GO OUT AND GET THAT FIGHT DONE, I THINK IT WILL BE A FUN FIGHT REGARDLESS.”
Cruz also explained that, in his eyes, a Garbrandt win is the more favorable outcome.
“I WOULD PREFER CODY TO WIN, JUST BECAUSE I’D LIKE TO FIGHT HIM IN A REMATCH FOR THE BELT,” HE SAID “I THINK IT WOULD BE A REALLY SICK FIGHT AND IT WOULD BE GOOD FOR ME.”
Who do you think wins Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw’s UFC 217 bantamweight title fight? Do you think Dominick Cruz deserves a shot at the winner? Join the conversation in the comments section!
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 9/24/2017.