Dominick Cruz is no stranger to call outs.
As arguably the greatest bantamweight champion in UFC history, Cruz hears his name uttered by a lot of fighters following wins and it happened again on Saturday night, although under slightly different circumstances.
Just moments after Sean O’Malley dispatched late-notice replacement Kris Moutinho by third-round TKO, the always colorful prospect turned his attention to the top of the 135-pound division when looking for his next opponent.
“Cody Garbrandt hasn’t won a fight since 2012,” O’Malley shouted. “Petr Yan is petrified. Dominick Cruz is ducking me. [Rob Font] where you at?”
Now Rob Font would certainly be a huge step up in competition for O’Malley considering he’s not even positioned in the top 15 right now according to the MMA Fighting Global Rankings. Font has won his last four fights in a row and he’s arguably one more victory away from a title shot.
That said, Cruz paid particular attention to his name being dropped into O’Malley’s post fight diatribe considering he hasn’t been offered nor turned down anybody lately.
“I’ve been called out every weekend for about eight weeks so I’ve been dodging every person that’s been calling me out for eight weeks,” Cruz said with a sarcastic tone when speaking during the UFC 264 post-fight show.
“I’m looking to move up the division just like everybody else is looking to move up the division. Respect to every athlete, I’m looking to go up just like everyone else.”
If O’Malley wants to take unnecessary shots in order to call out a much higher ranked opponent, Cruz is more than happy to play that game as well.
Of course it helps that Cruz is a former UFC champion who currently sits at No. 13 at bantamweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings following a win over Casey Kenney in his last outing.
“Rob Font’s No. 3 [in the UFC rankings]. If I want to call somebody out Rob Font, there we go,” Cruz said. “I can do it too.”
Ultimately, Cruz knows calling somebody out doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to get them because that decision remains with the promotion.
It’s a lesson Cruz believes O’Malley should learn, especially when it comes to matchmaking in the UFC because just asking for a fight doesn’t mean you’re actually going to get it.
“What the UFC does is what the UFC does,” Cruz said. “I’m not Conor McGregor where I can just say ‘hey give me this fight.’ So I’m just going to sit here and say No. 3, let’s go.”