UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz doesn’t want a warm-up fight. He wants Renan Barao.
Cruz, appearing on FOX Sports 2 after UFC 165 Saturday night, made it known he plans to return to action early in 2014 and wants to unify his UFC title with Barao, the interim champion.
“I always said I want to fight the best guy when I come back,” Cruz said. “I want to fight the guy who is No. 1 in the division. The best in the division. I think I have the tools to challenge him and I have the tools to beat him.”
Chael Sonnen, commentating alongside Cruz, asked if he wanted a fight before facing Barao to get back into action, as “The Dominator” hasn’t fought in two years.
“There is no warm-up fight in this division,” Cruz barked. “Everybody in the division is tough. Everybody is a threat.
“The difference is I am the champion. I want that shot to fight the best guy in the world and to prove I belong there; prove why I am the best 135-pounder in the world.”
Cruz has underwent two knee surgeries since last defending his title. Barao topped Eddie Wineland for his second successful title defense.