Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber just can't help but fight.
In preparation for their championship match at UFC 199, the champion and challenger have been making the media rounds together and the interviews have been as chippy as one would expect from two fighters who clearly don't like each other but are professional enough to not allow their dislike to turn into thrown shoes and pre-fight brawls.
In a joint interview with Colin Cowherd. the fighters initially held some semblance of respectful recognition of each that eventually collapsed into arguing over the genesis of their mutual dislike, how their previous fights went, and their accomplishments.
'I have some respect for Dominick...He's the best at what he does. He's obviously a champion for a reason. He's very good,' Faber commented.
Even Cruz was able to admit that Faber hurt him in their previous fight and stated, "I've broken down every single one of his fights and given him compliments." The respect was short lived however as things heated up when the two talked about why they aren't particularly respectful to each other and why Faber gets more recognition than Cruz for the success of the lower weight divisions.
"We started around the same time," said Faber. "It's been 13 years for me. It's been 11 years for him. I have more than double the fights... You get notoriety when you fight. He deserves notoriety but he hasn't been fighting. He's not made for battle. His mind is made for battle. He's got heart, he's got those kind of things but his body is not."
Earlier in the interview, Cruz called out Faber for ducking opposition which seemed to bother Faber some causing him to interrupt Cruz with the fact that two fights ago he fought Frankie Edgar, who is scheduled to fight for the UFC Interim Featherweight Championship. Now, in response to Faber's attack on him Cruz returned to that track.
'Let's say my body isn't built for battle. Okay. Then I'm just beating you not built for battle because of my brain. Okay. That's fine. I'll take that. The point is I'm facing the best guys in the division since 2009. I'm talking top three. He's not faced those guys and each guys [sic] that I've faced in the top 3 of each division has been either for titles or they're contenders or they're the best in the world still currently now. The people that he's faced for the title he's lost every single time he's faced for the title."
Whether this is gamesmanship by Cruz or genuine belief it obviously annoyed Faber, causing him to defend his bonafides and remind Cruz that he, Faber, had beaten Cruz in a championship fight. Undeterred, Cruz continued this line of verbal attack and the more he did the quicker the conversation devolved.
"He's talked about fighting [the best] people, but he doesn't beat them...Why didn't you fight TJ Dillashaw? He's the best," said Cruz.
"I fought TJ Dillashaw for 8 years, every day. Dude I'll smoke TJ Dillashaw. He looks like a prepubescent little teenager right now because USADA came in. You look like a chubby...," responded Faber.
Cruz jumped on this unprompted, semi-accusation of former Faber prodigy TJ Dillashaw and Faber was quick to backtrack saying, 'I don't know if he was or not' but later reaffirming that "it's very obvious." This all played into Cruz's hands who had been adamant all interview that there were "no facts" behind everything Faber said.
What had once been begrudgingly respectful disagreement had now been dramatically lowered to infantile bickering and the interview ended with a peak Cruz-Faber exchange.
"He looks like Eddie Munster," said Faber.
To which Cruz replied, '"'ll take it. Eddie Munster's a stud."
Dominick Cruz is set to defend his UFC Bantamweight Championship against Urijah Faber at UFC 199 on June 4 in Los Angeles, California.
You can see the full interview below.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Out with a bang. Frank Mir says the Mark Hunt KO loss may be his last fight if USADA suspends him for 2 years.
A likely story. UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold says he isn't convinced of Yoel Romero's innocence in his tainted supplement case.
Advantage Stipe. Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos says Miocic may unseat reigning champion Fabricio Werdum.
Moneyweight. Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal says neither he nor Conor McGregor started the trend of jumping weight classes.
Making it up. Jon Jones says his decision to fight at UFC 197 was to 'make things right' for what happened at UFC 151.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
***These are pieces that aren't essential news but I found enjoyable or otherwise interesting. They may be op-eds, fanposts, or articles from around the internet. I may also occasionally (and shamelessly) shill my own work from SBNation site BloodyElbow.
All the rematches. Jordan Breen of Sherdog.com opines about the current conversation taking place in the MMA world regarding immediate rematches.
I feel confident in saying that RDA is the fighter with the biggest disparity between in-cage entertainment and outside of the cage entertainment. Media just doesn't seem to be his thing. But this has some good information and he even hints at his next fight being against Eddie Alvarez. Peep it.
Legacy 53 took place this past weekend and had some fun fights. (Full disclosure I train with several of the guys that fought.) Here is a brief highlight package. There is a nifty knee/hip crank at 0:46 you should definitely see.
BJ sounds really old here. This comeback could be brutal.
The Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy honestly make me uncomfortable with how white it is. Also, 140 lb. Gui Mendes giving the 185 lb. UFC champion fits on the ground is fun to watch.
Pettis getting work in with Jackson-Wink should be great for his game. Also, Cowboy is hilarious.
Jeff Sherwood's, founder of Sherdog.com, final appearance on Beatdown Radio. Interviews with Quinton Jackson and Bas Rutten.
For those of you who enjoy old fashioned boxing with big pillowy gloves.
My money is on Joanna. TKO in the 2nd round.
El Cucuy had a trip to the ER and didn't even have to fight Khabib Who Wrestles Bears. Rough week for him.
1 for Conor, 1 for Jose, and 1 for Cruz.
Good to know that if Werdum ever wants to hurt me for some reason I can definitely outrun him.
He's a braver man than I. Fortunately for him, she takes it easy.
What's come the best always stays at the end !! ☺ It was my decision it was huuge pleasure to be hit by the champ A real cherry on top with my mma journey I'v ever had...huge thanx & respect for that amazing champ - our polish pride @joannajedrzejczyk #andstill #andforever @joannamma @pgenarodowy #joannajedrzejczyk #ufcchamp #joannachampion #JJ #JJchamp #warsaw #pgenarodowy #friendsmeeting #athlete #warrior #mma #mixmartialarts #warsovia #whatsup #feelfree #sportslife #miedzynarodowespotkaniebranzymma #warschau #NoFightNoLife #galawalk #octagon #strawweightchamp #travel #traveler #beardandtattoos #beardnroll #tattoolover
Derrick Lewis obviously feeling good after sending Gabriel Gonzaga to Valhalla
man i promise that wasnt a lucky punch pic.twitter.com/MFgc68nP3D— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) April 11, 2016
Cowboy is just making all the friends this week.
Tecia Torres vs. Thug Rose is gonna be one hell of a scrap.
125 lbs 11% BodyFat This is me at my "walking weight" I've been 125 throughout my fight camp but definitely not this lean/tight. It really isn't about the # on the scale. It's about how you feel and look. Your # is strong, fierce, empowered. @darustrong @headrushbrand @freshmealplan Starts with a mindset, develops with hard workout, and finishes out in the kitchen. #teamtiny #ufcTampa @ufc
Chuck living that good retirement life.
Anthony Bourdain has been training BJJ for awhile. Gold medal in your first tournament is nothing to sneeze at.
John Makdessi (13-5-0) vs. Mehdi Baghdad (11-4-0); UFC 199, June 4.
Oluwale Bamgbose (6-1-0) vs. Cezar Ferriera (8-5-0); UFC on Fox 19, April 16.
Patrick Holohan (12-2-1) vs. Willie Gates (12-6-0); UFC Fight Night 87, May 8.
Patricio Freire (24-3-0) vs. Henry Corrales (12-2-0); Bellator 153, April 22.
Jordan Parsons (11-2-0) vs. Adam Piccolotti (7-0-0); Bellator 154, May 14.
Christine Stanley (4-1-0) vs. Shannon Sinn (2-2-0); Invicta FC 17, May 7.
Rachael Ostovich (2-2-0) vs. Ariel Beck (3-2-0); Invicta FC 17, May 7.
Vitaly Bigdash (8-0-0) vs. Aleksei Butorin (10-0-0); One Championship 41: Ascent to Power, May 6.
Angela Lee (5-0-0) vs. Mei Yamaguchi (15-8-1); One Championship 41: Ascent to Power, May 6.
Narantungalag Jadambaa (10-4-0) vs. Kotetsu Boku (24-10-2); One Championship 41: Ascent to Power, May 6.
Roger Gracie (7-2-0) vs. Michal Pasternak (11-0-0); One Championship 41: Ascent to Power, May 6.
Tatsuya Mizuno (14-11-1) vs. Sylvain Potard (7-5-0); One Championship 41: Ascent to Power, May 6.
Christian Lee (3-0-0) vs. Cary Bullos (7-3-0); One Championship 41: Ascent to Power, May 6.
Benedict Ang (2-0-0) vs. Jimmy Yabo (5-2-0); One Championship 41: Ascent to Power, May 6.
Sayid Guseyn Arslanaliev (2-0-0) vs. Jia Wen Ma (2-1-0); One Championship 41: Ascent to Power, May 6.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2015: UFC Fight Night 64 was held at the Tauron Arena in Krakow, Poland. The event was headlined by a Heavyweight rematch between Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko ‘Cro Cop' Filipovic. Cro Cop won by 3rd round TKO via elbows and punches, a performance which also snagged Fight of the Night honors.
The event also featured a Women's Strawweight contest where number 6 ranked Joanne Calderwood was upset by the debuting Maryna Moroz via 1st round armbar.
2014: UFC Fight Night 39 took place at du Arena in Abu Dhabi and was headlined by a Heavyweight tilt between Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera and Roy Nelson. Nelson scored a brutal walk-off KO in the 1st round earning a Performance of the Night bonus.
Also on this date, Bellator 116 was held at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California. The event featured the semifinals for the Season 10 Heavyweight Tournament which saw Blagoy Ivanov defeat Lavar Johnson by American in the 1st round and Alexander Volkov knock out Mighty Mo with a devastating headkick also in the 1st round.
Bellator 116 also had the final fight of Vladimir Matyushenko's career, losing to Joey Beltran by north-south choke in the 1st round.
2009: Strikeforce: Shamrock vs Diaz took place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California and was headlined by a fight between Frank Shamrock and Nick Diaz held at a catch-weight of 179 lbs. Diaz secured the win via TKO in the second round.
Also featured was a Lightweight contest between Gilbert Melendez and Rodrigo Damm for the Interim Lightweight belt. Melendez was originally slated to face Champion Josh Thomson in a rematch of the fight in which Melendez lost the title but Thomson withdrew after suffering a broken leg during sparring.
Also of note, Cristiane ‘Cyborg' Justino made her Strikeforce debut but weighed in at 151 lbs. for the scheduled Featherweight contest. The bout was made a catch-weight contest and she defeated former SmackGirl Middleweight champion (125 lbs.) Hitomi Akano via TKO in the 3rd round.
2004: Shooto 2004: 4/11 in Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium was held at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka Japan. It featured the debut fight of future Shooto Featherweight Champion (135 lbs.) Koetsu Okazaki who defeated Takao Tamara by unanimous decision.
1991: UFC Strawweight Kailin Curran was born.
1986: WSOF Middleweight Krasimir Mladenov was born.
Think I missed a spot? Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.