A lot of MMA promos have the same formula.
Fighters usually talk about how they’re strong, how their opponent is weak, and how there is no way said opponent could beat them in the cage. Throw in some personal jabs and maybe even death threats if the rivalry is intense enough, and there’s a formula for beef that can sell any prize fight.
However, not all trash talk is created equal. Sometimes a more eloquent approach is better, and it positions a fighter not only as his opponent’s physical superior, but his intellectual superior as well.
Enter Dominick Cruz. The former bantamweight champion was always known for his unique style and lightning-fast footwork that made him nearly impossible to hit in most fights. When he wasn’t making his opponents swing at air, he was making them look foolish in promos.
Cruz’s style always saw him methodically pick apart his opponent’s attempts at trash talk, using psychology to dissect the intentions of their words and always tying it back to their own insecurities. He’d also direct his own commentary at his opponents’ shortcomings, making even those fighters’ own fans consider whether what he was saying was true.
Cruz recently lit into Henry Cejudo, taking shots at him for calling out female fighters instead of defending one of his two belts against the numerous men waiting for a shot. Cruz spoke with Ariel Helwani, where he had a lot to say about “Triple C” and his maturity – or lack thereof.
“But in the sport of fighting, he is still very green, very new and extremely soft…”
He also said Cejudo’s entire being was tied into him winning his gold medal and two UFC titles. He said that without these things, Cejudo didn’t know who he was. He said this was why Cejudo always had to bring up those accomplishments, and that the cringe gimmick he has become known for is simply used to hide the fact that he doesn’t know who to be outside of sports accomplishments.
Cruz’s verbiage is deadly, perhaps second only to his fight skills. What makes things even more interesting is that he’s a bantamweight, a division where Cejudo is currently champion. Though Cruz has been spending more time in the commentary booth than the Octagon, thanks to a series of unfortunate injuries, he’s always rumored for a comeback – and a fight with Cejudo is very interesting.
Cruz has a massive height advantage over his foe, and if he could overcome the wrestling factor, he could likely easily win the striking battle. Cruz is in the same league as Cain Velasquez – a fighter whose legacy has been tarnished. Not because of opponents who have beat him, but because of injuries that have kept him away for longer than he would’ve liked.
Should Cejudo defend his title against Cruz if Cruz can recover from injury? Did the comments Cruz made about Cejudo make sense, or was it just an attempt to get back in the headlines?