Five days after taking the World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight championship from Brian Bowles when Bowles failed to answer the bell for the third round, new champion Dominick Cruz expressed surprise that Bowles quit fighting because of a broken hand.
"I was extremely caught off guard when he bowed out," Cruz said on ESPN's MMA Live. "To me, if I break my hand, if I break my foot, I'm fighting. You have to push a button on me or put me to sleep to get me to stop. I ain't going to stop for nothing. I was surprised that he didn't come out to answer the bell. There's not much I could do about it. I took the championship and I'll take that for what it is."
Bowles has taken a fair amount of criticism for his decision not to fight, and that criticism has been amplified by the fact that another former WEC champion, Urijah Faber, continued fighting after breaking both hands in a brutal five-round battle with Mike Brown. In a sport filled with tough men, some fans are questioning Bowles' toughness. Cruz seems to be echoing that sentiment.
As for his own health, Cruz said he initially thought he had a broken foot but was later told that it isn't broken. He said his bigger concern is an injury to his own hand, and that he'll have an MRI on Friday and won't know until then how soon he can get back into the cage.
Cruz said he hopes to defend his title soon, and he mentioned Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jogensen and Charlie Valencia as potential opponents but ultimately said, "Whatever the WEC puts in front of me, I'm willing to take that."