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Cruz and Jorgensen Promise Fast-Paced Title Fight at WEC 53

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When listening to Scott Jorgensen describe his plan for dealing with WEC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz's unique fighting style, it's important to remind yourself not to cringe outwardly. At least not in front of the guy. That would be rude, and possibly hazardous to your health.

To hear Jorgensen tell it, he hasn't watched tape on Cruz, and hasn't constructed much in the way of a game plan for their title fight at WEC 53. In fact, he hasn't spent a lot of time thinking about the champ at all. What's more, he doesn't seem to think this is as horrible an idea as it might sound like to most people.

"As far as stylistic match-up and nightmares, what have I done to my last five opponents?" said Jorgensen. "Name one other fighter that fights like I do in the WEC. There's not many. I'm big, I'm strong, I bully people. I'm not afraid to get hit and I'm always coming forward. Everybody's so worried about Dominick's style, but nobody's looked at what I do. There's one thing I guarantee: you can't slow me down and you're not going to bully me. That goes a long way in a fight."

The question is, will it be enough?




Thanks largely to his speed, grappling ability, and unpredictable use of range, Cruz has racked up a seven-fight win streak en route to becoming the WEC 135-pound champ. But where some people see a style that seems almost impossible to crack, Jorgensen sees "a lot of defensive movement, a lot of point striking, and that's about it."

When Cruz hears talk like that coming from his opponent, he can think of only one possible explanation.

"I think he's absolutely talking himself into being able to handle it," said Cruz. "What else can you do?"

One of the things Jorgensen seems to have almost gone out of his way not to do is to prepare specifically for the challenges that Cruz presents. He said he even told his training partners not to try and mimic Cruz's style in sparring sessions, even if they didn't always listen.

"I try and tell my guys not to, but it always happens that guys try and give me a lot more movement and stuff, which I need," Jorgensen said. "In the end, I just want to focus on what I do. I adapt very quickly in the cage to no matter what I face, whether it's a striker or wrestler or whatever. No matter how fast they move or how fast their hands are, I'll find a way to adapt. That's one thing, I'm very resilient and I'll find my way in the fight. So when I train, I want my training partners to give me the best look they've got, and that's not mimicking somebody else's style that they don't do."

But to Cruz, Jorgensen's talk isn't upsetting, nor is it surprising. Instead, he said, it's a sign that his final WEC challenger doesn't truly understand what he's walking into.

"I think a lot of reasons why people critique my style is because they don't understand it," said Cruz. "Everything I do, I do it for a reason. And that's the reason I'm coming up on top is because people don't understand it. So the only thing you can do is badmouth it because you don't know how it works."

In fact, there may be only thing Cruz and Jorgensen agree on heading into this bout, and it's pace. Both men say it will be a furious one, and each insists that he won't be the one to tire out first.

"Everyone talks about Dominick's pace, but when I put pressure on guys it's a lot different than moving around them," said Jorgensen.

"Nobody's going to ever outpace me," Cruz fired back. "Nobody's ever going to get me tired, because that's the one thing I can control in five rounds, three rounds, or any fight altogether. I control my conditioning, and it's always going to be better than everybody I fight."

Since theirs is a bout to determine the first UFC bantamweight champion, it seems only fitting that they settle it with the kind of high-octane performance that the lighter fighters have been putting on for years in the WEC.

At least now they can tell themselves that it's the last time they'll have to do it for a fraction of the paycheck.