Henry Cejudo was originally scheduled to defend his UFC bantamweight championship against former featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 250. Due to the ongoing pandemic, Aldo will no longer be fighting for the title. Added to that, is the reality that some fighters will have seen their fight day earnings slashed by the Reebok deal, as illustrated by our friends at Betway Online. One fighter that mightn’t need to worry so much, for the time being, is Dominick Cruz. The former bantamweight champion and arguably greatest 135 pound fighter of all time is now scheduled to challenge Cejudo. However, according to Betway, it appears that the highest-paid UFC fighter of all time is still Conor McGregor, who is estimated to be earning as much as up to $40,000 per fight from the Reebok deal and around $9.5m from his UFC fights.
Dominick Cruz Big Underdog vs. Henry Cejudo
At this point, there’s no guarantee that the fight will even take place. If it does, Cruz will be looking to win back the title and leave no doubt who the bantamweight GOAT is. We haven’t seen Cruz since he was outclassed by Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 way back in December, 2016. He has been scheduled to fight several times since then, but has battled various injuries over the past few years. Dominick Cruz deserves a lot of respect if this ends up being his return fight, because Cejudo will present numerous problems for the challenger.
The durability levels between Cruz and Cejudo could not be more different. After the Garbrandt fight, Cruz announced that he was dealing with an injury during camp leading up to it. After taking some time off, he was scheduled to return but had to pull out due to a broken arm. A year later, Cruz was again scheduled to return, but that time pulled out due to a shoulder injury. Against an athlete of Cejudo’s caliber, Cruz will be at a huge disadvantage if he’s unhealthy.
Dominick Cruz made himself a lot of money with his wrestling abilities. He can probably forget about those wrestling abilities against Cejudo, though. The former Olympic gold medalist won’t be an easy target for Cruz’s signature double leg. On the other hand, though, Cejudo won’t have an easy time getting Cruz to the ground either. This fight will mostly be contested on the feet. Years ago, that would be a clear advantage for Cruz. Now, it’s not so clear.
Numerous times in the past, Dominick Cruz has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in ring rust. With his level of preparation, maybe it won’t be a factor for him. But 3.5 years is a long time to go without fighting. It becomes even more challenging when your return fight is against one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world today. Though cardio has never been a problem for Cruz, it needs to be perfect for this fight. Taking 3.5 years off and coming back in a five-round fight is a serious challenge. And as we saw against Marlon Moraes, you can’t slow down against Henry Cejudo. Cruz will need to be in the best shape of his life heading into this fight.
If he was in his prime, Dominick Cruz would probably be a favorite over Cejudo. He would definitely win the striking battle and could wear Cejudo down with kicks over five rounds. Now, though, Cruz might not be able to keep up the same pace he always has. And even if he does, Cejudo might have the ability to just absorb it and overpower Cruz. It’s so hard to predict this fight due to Cruz’s layoff, but him being a sizable underdog seems to be justified.
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