With the 15th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” set to debut Friday on FX, there’s no love lost between coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.
Faber dropped a unanimous decision to Cruz last July, but during a recent appearance on HDNet’s “Inside MMA,” Faber was quick to remind the UFC bantamweight champion that he submitted him with a guillotine choke back in 2007.
“He’s alive right now because there’s rules in MMA, and I had to release his neck and let him breathe,” Faber said. “So you're welcome, Dominick Cruz, for giving you life and letting you live. Next time I'm going to do the same thing. I'm going to let you live, but it's going to be painful.”
Naturally, Cruz didn’t appreciate Faber’s comments.
“He can say whatever he wants, but he’s just saying ignorant things because I get under his skin,” Cruz told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “He starts trying to go for the jugular, but that was one of the dumbest things he could have said because he’s been allowed to live several times. Tyson Griffin let him live. Mike Brown let him live. Jose Aldo chopped his leg off, so I’d be fighting him with no leg right now. He’s just saying stupid things to try to hype things up. It just makes no sense.”
The Griffin loss was Faber’s first in MMA. It took place about a year and a half before he beat Cruz.
“If there weren’t rules in MMA, back in 2005, Tyson Griffin put him to sleep with a knockout and he would have finished him right then and there, and I would have never fought Urijah Faber,” Cruz said. “There would have never been a rivalry. There would have never been nothing. This is a sport. This isn’t a death match. If it’s a death match, I’ll grab a pitchfork and stab him through his chest. It’s not a death match, man. … It’s a sport. It’s a sporting event.”
Faber has said Cruz is a good fighter. However, he believes the champion focuses on scoring points and doesn’t pose any real danger in the Octagon.
“He caught me in a submission in 2007. He beat me. I never made one excuse for it,” Cruz said. “I go and I beat him, and he has nothing but excuses. It’s a sport. You can win by points or you can win by finish. I did not finish him. I beat him by keeping him going backwards the entire fight, landing more punches than him and getting more takedowns than him. Yes, it’s hard to finish him. He’s one of the best fighters on the planet and so am I. He didn’t finish me either.”
Cruz expects a decisive finale, though, when they meet a third time on July 7 at UFC 148.
“I’m going to put a whooping on him, and this time I’m going to finish him,” he said. “I’m tired of hearing him run his mouth with that big chin of his.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 47:00).