American mixed martial arts fighter
This article uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Cruz.

Dominick Rojelio Cruz (born March 9, 1985)[4] is an American professional mixed martial artist, who is currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is a two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion and was also the final bantamweight titleholder of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).

Cruz is noted for his unorthodox movement, powerful wrestling base, quick striking, and his tendency to attack from angles in a unique fashion unlike any other fighter on the UFC roster.[5] He won the WEC bantamweight title in March 2010, and won the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Championship the following December. After defending the belt twice in 2011, Cruz was sidelined by injuries in 2012 and subsequently stripped of the title in 2014. On January 17, 2016, he regained the bantamweight championship with a split-decision win over T.J. Dillashaw. Numerous media outlets called this victory the greatest comeback story in MMA history.[6][7]


Early life[edit]

Dominick Rojelio Cruz was born on March 9, 1985, in San Diego, California, and is of Mexican descent.[8] He lived with his single mother, grandmother, and brother in a trailer park in Tucson for most of his childhood. He attended Flowing Wells High School, and competed in amateur wrestling.[9]


Cruz worked as a customer service representative at Lowe’s, and was studying to be a firefighter at community college before becoming a full-time fighter.[10]

In addition to fighting, Cruz is an MMA analyst for ESPN.

Early mixed martial arts career[edit]

Cruz began his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career in 2005, competing in the Rage in the Cage and Total Combat organizations. He amassed a record of 9-0 before joining World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).[11]

World Extreme Cagefighting[edit]

His first fight in the WEC was at featherweight in a title fight against Urijah Faber in which he lost by guillotine choke in the first round. The fight would become the beginning of a longstanding cantankerous rivalry between the two.

Dominick Cruz after retaining his WEC Bantamweight Championship at the WEC 50 in August 2010

He would then make his debut for the WEC’s 135 lb bantamweight division on June 7, 2008, at WEC 34 defeating Charlie Valencia by unanimous decision.

Cruz went on to take decision victories against Ian McCall on January 25, 2009, at WEC 38 and April 5, 2009, Ivan Lopez at WEC 40.

Cruz defeated Joseph Benavidez on August 9, 2009, at WEC 42 by unanimous decision. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.[12]

Cruz defeated Brian Bowles via TKO (doctor stoppage) on March 6, 2010, at WEC 47. Bowles was unable to continue after the second round after breaking his hand. Cruz became the new WEC Bantamweight Champion.[13]

Cruz made his first title defense against Joseph Benavidez on August 18, 2010, at WEC 50.[14] Cruz broke his left hand in the fight.[15] The bout was a rematch of their contest at WEC 42, in which Cruz handed Benavidez his first career loss, via decision. Cruz would later defeat Benavidez again via split decision.

Cruz faced Scott Jorgensen on December 14, 2010, at WEC 53 for both the WEC Bantamweight Championship and the newly created UFC Bantamweight Championship.[16] This bout would be the final Bantamweight Championship fight under the WEC banner and would also crown the inaugural UFC Bantamweight champion, making this the only UFC title fight to take place outside of the UFC.[17] Cruz defeated Jorgensen via unanimous decision to retain the WEC Bantamweight Championship and become the first UFC Bantamweight Champion.[18]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Bantamweight Championship[edit]

On October 28, 2010, World Extreme Cagefighting merged with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). As part of the merger, all WEC fighters were transferred to the UFC.[19]

A rematch with Urijah Faber took place on July 2, 2011, at UFC 132 being the first defense of the new UFC Bantamweight title.[20] In a closely contested fight which saw Faber drop Cruz multiple times with strikes and Cruz landing multiple legbody kicks, knees and takedowns, Cruz defeated Faber via unanimous decision to retain his championship and avenge the only loss on his record at that time.[21][22]

Cruz defeated Demetrious Johnson via unanimous decision on October 1, 2011, at UFC on Versus 6, his second UFC title defense. Cruz broke his right hand in the first round.[15][23] Cruz was expected to face Urijah Faber for a third time for the UFC bantamweight championship after Faber defeated Brian Bowles at UFC 139 in a bantamweight title eliminator bout.[24]

String of injuries[edit]

In December 2011, Cruz was selected to coach The Ultimate Fighter: Live against opposing coach Urijah Faber.[25] The rubber match between Cruz and Faber was expected to take place on July 7, 2012, at UFC 148.[26] However, on May 7, 2012, Cruz was forced to pull out of the bout citing a torn ACL.[27]

On December 3, 2012, it was revealed that Cruz underwent another ACL surgery after his body rejected one from a cadaver, with an expected recovery time of six to nine months.[28]

Cruz was scheduled to make his return on February 1, 2014, at UFC 169 in a unification bout with interim UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barão.[29] However, on a January 6 episode of SportsCenter, UFC president Dana White announced that Dominick Cruz had torn his groin and vacated the UFC Bantamweight Championship; White promoted Barão to undisputed UFC Bantamweight Champion, and announced that Barão’s first unified title defense would be against Urijah Faber at UFC 169.[30]

After nearly three years away from the sport due to injuries, Cruz returned to the octagon on September 27, 2014, at UFC 178 where he faced Takeya Mizugaki.[31] Cruz won the fight by KO in the first round by punches after getting a takedown.[32] The win also earned Cruz his first Performance of the Night bonus award.[33] At the post-fight press conference, Dana White confirmed that Cruz’s next fight would be for the Bantamweight Championship against T.J. Dillashaw.

Subsequently, on December 22, 2014, Cruz indicated that he had torn the ACL in his other knee, which sidelined him through 2015.[34]

Regaining the championship[edit]

After over four years since his last title fight, Cruz faced T.J. Dillashaw on January 17, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 81. He regained the title with a split-decision victory.[35] Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.[36] Many have cited the return and victory as one of the greatest comebacks in MMA history.[6][7]

To complete their trilogy, Cruz defended his title against Urijah Faber on June 4, 2016, at UFC 199. He won the fight by unanimous decision.[37]


Cruz faced Cody Garbrandt on December 30, 2016, at UFC 207. Garbrandt won the bout by unanimous decision to become the new UFC Bantamweight Champion.[38] This was the first loss for Cruz in nearly 10 years.[39] Months later, on The Joe Rogan Experience, Cruz revealed that he was plagued by plantar fascia tendinitis throughout training camp that made it difficult for him to walk at times.[40]

Cruz was expected to face Jimmie Rivera on December 30, 2017, at UFC 219, however, on November 8, it was reported Cruz suffered a broken arm and he was forced to pull from the card.[41]

Cruz was expected to face John Lineker on January 26, 2019 at UFC 233.[42] It was reported on December 11, 2018 that Cruz injured his shoulder and pulled out of the fight.[43] Subsequently, Cruz indicated that he expects to be out of competition for another year.[44]


After more than a 3 year-layoff, Cruz replaced José Aldo and faced Henry Cejudo for the UFC Bantamweight Championship on May 9, 2020 at UFC 249.[45] He lost the fight via TKO in the second round.[46]

Fighting style[edit]

Cruz combines constant lateral motion with precise, in-and-out striking.[5][47] Known as one of the most agile fighters in MMA, he is noted for his quick footwork, head movement, and use of feints. He often attacks with combinations, step-in jabs, and single strikes thrown from angles.[5][47] In addition to his striking, Cruz has extensive training in amateur wrestling.[9]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]


See also[edit]


  • ^ “Dominick”. Sherdog. Retrieved cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background-image:url(“//”);background-image:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”);background-repeat:no-repeat;background-size:9px;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background-image:url(“//”);background-image:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”);background-repeat:no-repeat;background-size:9px;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background-image:url(“//”);background-image:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”);background-repeat:no-repeat;background-size:9px;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-image:url(“//”);background-image:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”);background-repeat:no-repeat;background-size:12px;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}
  • ^ “Print Fight Card – UFC 178 Johnson vs. Cariaso”. Archived from the original on September 28, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  • ^ Caron, Nick (July 3, 2011). “UFC 132: Did Dominick Cruz Take a Shot at Urijah Faber with Blue Belt Promotion?”. Bleacher Report.
  • ^ “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show: Episode 61”. Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. Retrieved 2020-01-01.
  • ^ a b c Stets, Michael (2016-01-18). “UFC Fight Night 81 results: Dominick Cruz delivers vintage performance, defeats T.J. Dillashaw to regain Bantamweight belt”. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  • ^ a b Martin, Damon (2016-01-18). “Dominick Cruz just completed the greatest comeback in UFC history”. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  • ^ a b “UFC Fight Night 81 Results: Dominick Cruz Regains Title with Split Decision Over TJ Dillashaw”. 2016-01-18. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  • ^ Retrieved 1 May 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  • ^ a b Matherjan, Victor (2016-01-15). “Wrestlers Find Well-Worn Path to U.F.C. Title Bout”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  • ^ “Dominick Cruz – Official UFC® Fighter Profile”. 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  • ^ “Dominick Cruz”. Sherdog. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
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  • ^ “Cruz vs Benavidez For The Title In August”. 2010-06-08.
  • ^ a b “Gross Picture of the Day: Dominick Cruz’s Hand”. CagePotato.
  • ^ “WEC 53 title doubleheader features Henderson vs. Pettis, Cruz vs. Jorgensen”. 2010-09-27. Archived from the original on 2010-09-30.
  • ^ “WEC 53: Dominick Cruz, Scott Jorgensen Fight To Be First UFC Bantamweight Champion”. December 14, 2010.
  • ^ “WEC 53 play by play and live results”. December 16, 2010.
  • ^ “UFC and WEC set to merge in 2011; events to air on Versus and Spike TV”. October 28, 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-10-31.
  • ^ “Champ Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber II booked for UFC 132”. 2011-03-26.
  • ^ “UFC 132 Play-by-Play: Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber”. 2011-06-30.
  • ^ Iole, Kevin (2012-02-26). “UFC 132: Cruz claims rematch over Faber”. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  • ^ “UFC Quick Quote: Dominick Cruz Beat Demetrious Johnson With A Broken Hand *VIDEO*”.
  • ^ Cofield, Steve (October 1, 2011). “Cruz digs deep to retain his 135-pound title at UFC on Versus 6”. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  • ^ “Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber Selected as Coaches of Next Ultimate Fighter Season”. December 6, 2011.
  • ^ “Champ Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber III targeted for UFC 148 in Las Vegas”. February 10, 2012.
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  • ^ Erickson, Matt (2014-09-28). “UFC 178 bonuses: McGregor, Cruz, Romero, Kennedy earn $50,000”. Retrieved 2014-09-28.
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  • ^ “Dominick Cruz injured, out of UFC 219 fight vs. Jimmie Rivera”. Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
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  • ^ Ordoñez, Milan (2018-12-17). “Dominick Cruz expected to be sidelined for a year due to shoulder injury”. Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  • ^ Martin, Damon (2020-04-27). “Dana White defends Dominick Cruz receiving title shot after nearly four years off”. MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  • ^ Campbell, Morgan; Draper, Kevin (10 May 2020). “U.F.C. 249 Live Updates and Results”. New York TImes. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  • ^ a b Slack, Jack (2015-09-25). “Dominick Cruz: Breaking the Rules of Thumb”. Fightland. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  • ^ “UFC Fight Night 81 bonuses: Cruz, Dillashaw, Herman, Sanders pocket $50K checks”. 2016-01-17.
  • ^ “UFC 207 bonuses: Nunes, Garbrandt, Cruz, Garcia receive $50K awards”. 2016-12-30.
  • ^ “UFC 178 bonuses: McGregor, Cruz, Romero, Kennedy earn $50K rewards”. 2014-09-27.
  • ^ “WEC 42 bonuses and awards”. 2009-08-10.
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  • External links[edit]