As is most often the case with rematches, much of the focus placed on this Saturday’s bout between UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber has been on how the two have changed since their first meeting (which came at WEC 26 in 2007, when Faber was the belt holder at 145lbs.) and how their newly evolved styles will match up in their second go-around.
According to Cruz, there is little that remains of the fighter whom Faber choked out in one round back then and “The California Kid” should expect to be facing a marked step up in competition (props to Sherdog.com).
“You can look at my fights and the difference in my [skills] since I fought [Faber]. My scrambling and my wrestling [have improved], and my body is changing,” Cruz said. “It’s been four years, you know? Everything is different for this fight. He’s fighting a completely different person. I’m in a lot better place now. I’ve got a lot more knowledge about how the fight game works.”
Both men have made it known that they are not a fan or friend of the other, that there has been bad blood lingering from their first match, but Cruz assures that, when the cage door closes, he will remain truly professional despite his ill-will toward Faber.
“I do a pretty good job of not making it emotional. Once I get in a fight, I fight just as hard against somebody I don’t like as I do against somebody I have no problem with,” said the champ. “Once I get in there, it’s not a big deal. I just go in there and do my job and beat the crap out of whoever is in the cage with me,” said Cruz. “You kind of get in the moment when you’re in a fight. You learn a lot about each other. We’ll see how the fight goes. After the fight, we’ll see how we look; we’ll see if we can walk and talk, and I’ll take it in stride.”
UFC 132 goes down this Saturday night from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Don’t forget to check back on FightLine.com on the night for our live, ongoing coverage of the event.