UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has been making the media rounds ahead of his June 4 trilogy fight against Urijah Faber at UFC 199, however the lead-up to this fight has been a bit different then others of the past.
In multiple interviews, Faber has heavily implied that Cruz used performance enhancing drugs prior to the UFC's partnership with USADA, attacking Cruz's physique while casually stating that "there's no secret what's going on there."
Neither Cruz nor Faber has ever failed a drug test in their fighting careers, and when asked on Monday, Cruz chalked up the accusations to insecurities on Faber's part.
"This is the thing, you can say whatever you need to say about me," Cruz said Monday on The MMA Hour. "I understand, all is fair in love and war. Like, I get that he is going to come and attack me. I get that he wants to attack my character. He's been doing this to me since 2007. This is the Faber game. He wants to turn everybody against you and make himself the good guy. He can't handle being the not liked guy.
"But, at the same time, this is all based off of fear. Judgment is the main act of fear. If I'm on [PEDs], what, is everybody on it? Everybody he's lost to? This is his excuse. He's setting up excuses for the loss that I'm about to serve him."
Cruz and Faber have been rivals since the late-aughts, when Faber choked out Cruz to win the WEC featherweight title. Cruz won a rematch in 2011, outpointing Faber to defend the UFC bantamweight strap and throw fuel on an already adversarial fire, so it is no surprise that the bad blood continues ahead of UFC 199.
However, Cruz hasn't been the only target of Faber's recent attacks. Faber also lobbed thinly veiled accusations of PED use at T.J. Dillashaw, stating that Dillashaw -- a former friend and training partner -- has looked like a "prepubescent little teenager" since USADA entered the picture.
The accusations were unusual, considering that Faber and Dillashaw shared a mentor-protégé relationship until Dillashaw departed Faber's Team Alpha Male gym for Elevation Fight Team. Cruz, however, wasn't surprised.
"Faber is showing his true colors," Cruz said. "He has no professionalism. No loyalty. Before he said anything about me, he attacked Dillashaw on The Herd show and tried to deny it and say he didn't. But, it's like he's trying to destroy Dillashaw's career, and this is somebody who is supposed to be his family, his best friend. They were brothers at one point. I mean, I'm not the biggest fan of Dillashaw. He's got his own things. That's needless to say, you can see in our last fight build-up that he's not my favorite person either. But he does mentor kids in wrestling and he does do stuff, and his own best friend is accusing him of using PEDs. It's like, what are you doing?
"That's a scumbag move. That's your ex-friend, all because he left your camp? I mean, that shows the true colors of Faber. When you're attacking me, I can understand that because he wants to ruin my faith because we're fighting. But when you're attacking a friend because he left your camp, you're just a scumbag. It's a lack of character, and that's something I haven't liked about Faber since day one. We're finally seeing the true colors of Faber come out when he makes accusations with absolutely no proof of anything and one of the best doping agencies on planet Earth."
In a strange way, Faber's comments have brought Cruz and Dillashaw together for a mutual cause.
The idea is one that sounded impossible just a few short months ago, when the fiery rivalry between Cruz and Dillashaw crested with Cruz seizing Dillashaw's UFC bantamweight title with a split decision win at UFC Fight Night 81. But now that both men have found themselves under attack from Faber's accusations, they can agree on one thing -- that June 4 will be the last time Faber ever fights for a UFC belt.
"Faber got this fight because I don't like him, and because of that people want to see me beat him up," Cruz said. "Everywhere I went, it wasn't like, ‘who are you fighting next?' It's like, ‘when are you going to beat up Faber again and shut him up? That guy talks so much. He makes a bunch of excuses.' People want me to beat him up. He can say whatever he wants about me not having fans -- everywhere I go, I got people asking me to beat him up. So I don't really care what he does, but I know that I'm going to go out there and stop him again from touching the belt, and that's something I can control.
"He can say whatever he wants about my body and all that stuff that he was saying, how it changed. Man, I was out for four-plus years. That's like 1,500 days. Maybe a quarter of those, maybe like 700 of days I could work out. I was sitting behind the desk studying fights, analyzing fights, breaking things down. There was a point where I hit 175 pounds. I was depressed at times. There was a lot going in my life, that, I had let go of fighting. When I got that Dillashaw call to fight, I wasn't going to tell the UFC no. I just said screw it, let's go.
"I was rehabbing still when they asked me for that fight at nine months of my third ACL reconstruction. I got ready off the couch, off the analyst desk, went out there and fought and did my job, while he's making excuses about PEDs. So it's like, I'm doing my job and that's all I can do. On June 4th, I'm going to do my job and shut that idiot up."