Dominick Rojelio Cruz, born on March 9, 1985 in Tucson, Arizona, is an American mixed martial artist. He fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is a two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion. Cruz was also the final bantamweight titleholder of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).
Known as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA), 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. 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. In January 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.
Cruz is of Mexican descent paternally. 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.
In addition to fighting, Cruz is an MMA analyst for Fox Sports.
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).
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.
He would then make his debut for the WEC’s 135 lb bantamweight division in June 2008, at WEC 34 defeating Charlie Valencia by unanimous decision.
Cruz went on to take decision victories against Ian McCall in January 2009, at WEC 38 and in April 2009, Ivan Lopez at WEC 40.
Cruz defeated Joseph Benavidez in August 2009, at WEC 42 by unanimous decision. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.
Cruz defeated Brian Bowles via TKO (doctor stoppage) in March 2010, at WEC 47 becoming the new WEC Bantamweight Champion.
Cruz made his first title defense against Joseph Benavidez in August 18, 2010, at WEC 50. He broke his left hand in the fight. The bout was a rematch of their contest at WEC 42, in which Cruz handed Benavidez his first career loss, via split decision.
Cruz faced Scott Jorgensen in December 2010, at WEC 53 for both the WEC Bantamweight Championship and the newly created UFC Bantamweight Championship. He defeated Jorgensen via unanimous decision to retain the WEC Bantamweight Championship, becoming the first UFC Bantamweight Champion.
A rematch with Urijah Faber took place in July 2, 2011, at UFC 132 being the first defense of the new UFC Bantamweight title. Cruz defeated Faber via unanimous decision to retain his championship and avenge the only loss on his record at that time.
Cruz defeated Demetrious Johnson via unanimous decision in October 2011, at UFC on Versus 6, his second UFC title defense.
After nearly three years away from the sport due to injuries, Cruz returned to the octagon in September 2014, at UFC 178, where he faced Takeya Mizugaki and won the fight by K. The win also earned Cruz his first Performance of the Night bonus award.
After over four years since his last title fight, Cruz faced T.J. Dillashaw in January 2016, at UFC Fight Night 81. He regained the title with a split-decision victory. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.
To complete their trilogy, Cruz defended his title against Urijah Faber in June 2016, at UFC 199 and won the fight by unanimous decision.
Cruz faced Cody Garbrandt in December 2016, at UFC 207. Garbrandt won the fight by unanimous decision to become the new UFC Bantamweight Champion. This was the first loss for Cruz in nearly 10 years.
He currently holds a professional record of 22 wins and 2 losses.
Cruz was expected to face Jimmie Rivera in December 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.