By Alistair Hendrie
“I look at this fight a lot differently than just belts,” said Dominick Cruz, talking on a conference call about his bantamweight title shot against Henry Cejudo on Saturday at UFC 249, which will be held behind closed doors. “What’s the value of championship belts when there are millions of Americans applying for unemployment benefit who can’t feed their families? I look at this fight as a time when I can make a huge difference.”
As such the leader in UFC and WEC bantamweight wins is aware of the moment of respite a UFC event can offer the world during the coronavirus pandemic. The 35-year-old, returning from a four-year absence due to a litany of arm and shoulder injuries, spoke of the millions of Americans who are being laid off work as the economy suffers. Indeed, Cruz wants to offer a glimmer of hope on Saturday.
“Realistically this fight is a stand for everyone who thinks they’re not a champion and to let them know that regardless of what anyone says, regardless of what their credentials are, if you believe something, if you want something, you have a greater purpose than just yourself. I’m gonna stand for that after a four-year lay-off – again – when everyone says ring rust exists even though it doesn’t.”
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Check out Alistair Hendrie’s Kindle book, Fight Game: The Untold Story of Women’s MMA in Britain, featuring insight from Rosi Sexton, Joanne Calderwood and more