The MMA community can exhale -- for now. Dominick Cruz’s knee is just fine.
The newly crowned bantamweight champion appeared to be hobbled during the later stages of the UFC Fight Night Boston headliner against T.J. Dillashaw after his opponent landed a series of hard leg kicks. It wasn’t enough to prevent Cruz from winning a closely-contested split decision, but there was a little bit of concern regarding “The Dominator’s” health after the bout.
“I did not re-injure my knee. My knee’s good. It’s my left foot,” Cruz said at the post-fight press conference. “I had a foot injury before I came: Plantar fascia tendinitis. It’s a normal thing. It’ll heal; it’ll be fine. It’s just really sore.
“It’s weird to me as fighters we’re not able to tape our feet; tape our ankles. The best athletes in the world [in other sports] are able to tape their ankles, help their feet. A little bit of tape probably would’ve helped a bit. It hurt a little bit in the fifth round. Before that I was fine.”
During the post-fight show on Fox Sports 1, Cruz revealed that he felt his foot pop in the fifth round. It was that, not the leg kicks from Dillashaw that were causing him difficulty down the stretch.
“It’s extremely painful. The leg kicks landed, but I’ve been kicked for 12 weeks so it’s nothing new,” he said.
Cruz has fought just once since 2011, the result of multiple knee injuries that have robbed the Alliance MMA standout of much of his athletic prime. The layoff, nor the multiple procedures didn’t appear to adversely affect Cruz, who displayed much of his trademark footwork as he confounded Dillashaw over the course of 25 minutes.
“I’m a big believer in ring rust, and this is twice that Cruz has shown up with absolutely zero ring rust,” UFC President Dana White said.
With his current ailment, Cruz doesn’t expect to spend nearly as much time on the sideline as in recent years. That’s a good thing, both for him and the rest of the division, even if he doesn’t know who is next for him in the Octagon.
“I guarantee you Dana has an idea, I guarantee you Lorenzo [Fertitta] has an idea. Let’s give it some time. As for the injury, I’ll be fine,” Cruz said. “I’ve dealt with worse. Let me get an MRI on my foot. I don’t think I tore it all the way, it just hurts real bad. I fought for five rounds on it.”