Newly minted WEC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, shocked the MMA community with a dominant performance over former champion Brian Bowles this past Saturday at WEC 47. He utilized a shockingly substantial speed advantage over the heavy-handed Bowles and deftly moved in and out of range landing blows seemingly at will.
Though in the vast minority before the fight, the supremely confident Cruz believed the win was just a matter of time.
"Man there's no words to explain it," Cruz said. "I put so much time and effort into training and I've made so many sacrifices to be here. It almost feels like I knew this was going to happen sooner or later. All you have to do is work hard. I eat, drink, sleep MMA. It was inevitable. I thank God every day. Without God, I wouldn't even be here."
Though many attribute the victory to Cruz's blinding speed, Cruz explains that the key to his style is footwork and the utilization of faints which allowed him to avoid Bowles' big right hand.
"What's key is faints man," Cruz said. "What people don't use in MMA is faints and footwork. That's something I am going to bring to MMA. A new style in stand-up to MMA. At the end of the fight, I was picking him apart pretty good. He hits hard, but he couldn't find me, and I was going to keep chopping away at that leg and picking him apart until he quit."
And in a sense, that's what Bowles was forced to do. Entering into the second round Bowles was visibly bothered by his right hand. The formerly undefeated brawler shook the hand out on numerous occasions and appeared to throw his biggest weapon very judiciously. He looked tentative and lost at times during the round.
After the fight, Bowles revealed that he broke the hand on the fight's very first punch, and it affected him greatly thereafter; a revelation that meant little to Cruz.
"Whether his hand broke or not, I was going to finish that fight," Cruz said. "People say I don't got power because I don't finish people, but that's not the truth. The truth is, I'm moving so I don't get hit, and I'm picking them apart slowly but surely - getting them to make mistakes. That's what's key. People get too overzealous trying to finish, and that's not what you need. These are four ounce gloves. There is no room for error. My goal is to go in there and come out of the fight untouched. That's what I've done for my last five fights, and that's what I will continue to do."
With belt in tow, Cruz is now on a mission to prove what he's believed all along, even before his upset victory over Bowles.
"I'm the best in the world, and I believe that with all my heart," Cruz said. "I'm just going to keep training, and fix what I'm weak at."