First TJ Dillashaw now Dominick Cruz.
In the lead up to their title fight at UFC 199, Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber have been all over the media to promote the event. Just last week, this space reported on their joint appearance on Colin Cowherd's show, an appearance during which the two combatants got chippy and Faber made implications that former champion/training partner TJ Dillashaw had been using PED's. Now he is pointing that same finger at Cruz. In an interview with Submission Radio, Faber heavily implied Cruz had been using PEDs until the advent of USADA testing.
"I'll tell you what has happened. I've seen a drastic change in his body from the very first time that I fought him, to a year later when he fought, when he took the whole year off and came back all ripped. Then he looked pretty good two years ago when he made his long-awaited return, physically. And then all of a sudden he's got floppy boobs and back fat. I mean, there's no secret what's going on there - and I know he knows it."
Faber's refusal to outright accuse Cruz of PED usage is similar to his previous implication of Dillashaw. While never directly saying that Dillashaw was on PEDs he did note the physical appearance of Dillashaw which Faber suggested was diminished since the implementation of USADA. Likewise with Cruz, Faber highlighted Cruz's physical changes and contrasted that with himself and his health over the course of his career (a tacit indictment of Cruz's well-documented injury woes) while never directly accusing him of anything.
"The truth is, I've looked the same since I've been like 13 years old. I've continued to be an athlete. I've continued to stay healthy. There's something fishy going on there, and he knows and I know, that there's a big advantage coming to me because of that. And I'll just leave that at that and let USADA do their job."
Faber's veiled accusation appears to be based primarily (if not entirely) on circumstantial evidence and conjecture rather than hard facts. Neither Cruz nor Dillashaw has ever failed a drug test in or out of competition for the UFC. Regardless, Faber believes that this "big advantage" he has going into his rubber match with Cruz means he will be fighting a lesser version of the man he feels he already beat twice.
"One thousand percent! And the truth is, I will give him the respect because he has the mental side and he has great technique, you know, for what he's trying to do but the truth is he's a fraction, physically, from what he used to be. And it's still gonna be a very tough fight. A world champion's a world champion and that's a mentality thing. But the odds are stacked in my favor."
If Faber is right, and he wins, it will be the culmination of his fighting career, finally winning UFC gold and doing so by claiming his second victory over his fiercest rival. But what then? Would he retire with the sports movie ending as his teammate Cody Garbrandt suggested he might? Or will he defend his title against former protégé TJ Dillashaw? Neither apparently.
"What what I would like to do is beat Cruz, then fight Conor at 145."
Cruz and Faber fight for a third time at UFC 199, June 4 at the Forum in Inglewood, California for the UFC bantamweight championship.
***You can listen to the rest of the interview below where Faber talks more on Conor McGregor as well as about Joseph Benavidez leaving Team Alpha Male.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Not good.The police launch an investigation into the sexual assault allegations made against BJ Penn.
Double not good. UFC featherweight Diego Brandao arrested for allegedly pistol whipping a man outside of a strip club.
Call of duty. Benson Henderson plans to join the military reserves when he turns 33.
GSP is business savvy. Georges St. Pierre talking seriously with the UFC about returning, but the Reebok deal is an issue.
Some consolation. Salaries for UFC on Fox 19 were released with Rashad Evans leading the way with $150,000.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Thug Rose. Chuck Mindenhall, of this wonderful website, talks bout the growth of Rose Namajunas.
Nope. Unless it's against Anderson. Andreas Hale of Sherdog.com talks about whether we need a GSP comeback.
The Countdown for JBJ and OSP.
First episode of embedded.
Breakdown of the fight this weekend.
Watch JBJ work in preparation for this weekend.
And watch Werdum put it on Cain because why not?
Justin Wren's Ted Talk. Definitely worth a look.
Breen and Savage talk about the previous weekend.
Eugene Robinson also talking about the weekend.
Big fan of this fighter jersey swap thing. Might be the only good thing to come from the Reebok deal.
Mark Hunt is such a hero. Recognizes some random fan from half a decade ago and then reminisces about the cab ride they shared.
Always a place for Derrick Lewis in the MR. Especially when he's adding back elbows to his game.
I miss soccer kicks. What a wonderful things those were.
Ilir Latifi is stylish as all get out.
Cat Zingano needs to sign up for ninja classes with the Diaz brothers. Thatch was pretty solid though.
I would have bet a large sum of money that Cowboy owns a camo gi.
Now MVP can start playing touch butt in the park too.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2014: UFC on Fox 11: Werdum vs. Browne was held at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. The event was headlined by a heavyweight number 1 contender's bout between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne which Werdum won via 5 round decision.
Elsewhere on the card, MR favorite Derrick Lewis made his UFC debut with a first round TKO over Jack May. Also, featherweight super prospect Mirsad Bektic made his UFC debut stopping Joe Pearson in the first 2 minutes with strikes.
2009: Future Jewels 115 lb. champion and current Invicta atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki made her amateur MMA debut at Jewels - Rough Stone: First Ring. She won her first fight via armbar and drew in her second fight of the evening.
2008: Georges St. Pierre recaptured the welterweight championship and avenged his loss to Matt Serra at UFC 83 in the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. St. Pierre stopped Serra with a barrage of knees to the body in the second round.
Elsewhere on the card, Nate Quarry and Kalib Starnes fought resulting in the first ever scorecard of 30-24 in the UFC. In one of the stranger bouts ever to take place in the promotion, Starnes spent the majority of 3 rounds refusing to engage with Quarry. Late in the third Quarry began mocking Starnes by pantomiming running, prompting Starnes to shoot Quarry the bird. It was Starnes most effect offense of the fight.
Also, future UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez made his UFC debut defeating Brad Morris via punches in the first round.
1987: UFC welterweight Pascal Krauss 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.