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“I knew I was young, I was passionate about the sport, and more than anything I knew that I just needed to figure my body out,” Cruz said of the road back. “It was just a matter of getting myself back to where I’ve been. It’s just patience. The second you let something creep into your mind, it doesn’t serve you. So I don’t allow things that don’t serve me in a positive way enter my mind. I expel them immediately.”

Like the aforementioned questions. It may be why after returning from the knee surgeries only to be forced out of a UFC 169 bout with Renan Barao earlier this year due to a torn groin, Cruz went off the radar, uninterested in talking anymore about the bad luck that haunted him for over two years and cost him his UFC bantamweight title. 

“It’s not that I didn’t want to answer the questions again; it’s that it didn’t make any sense,” he said. “It’s just going to be the same stuff. People want to hear the same things. ‘Dominick, you’re out again, how does that make you feel?’ Well, everybody knows the answer to that question, so why are you going to ask me? I didn’t need to answer those questions. And to be honest, I didn’t hold the title anymore, so there was no pressure on me anymore. What I thought and what I said was the division was not my responsibility any longer. They said it’s not yours anymore; it’s Barao’s. So I said, okay Barao, that’s your responsibility to take care of it. I need to focus on myself for a little while. And I dropped off the radar to focus on me, to get my mind back to where I needed it to be and to get my body back into full form. Really, I was tired of talking about it, and ready to be about it. And now I’m here and I can be about it, my body’s working for me, and so I’m here talking.”

On Saturday, September 27, Cruz will make his return to active duty against number six-ranked contender Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178 in Las Vegas. It’s a highly-anticipated bout, not just because of Cruz’ return, but also due to the title implications for the winner. Of course, Cruz could have jumped right back into a title fight, but he chose to get one more fight in before he attempts to go after his crown again.


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