“I’m open to fighting him, yeah, but what I’m hearing now is – what’s funny is he’s talked all this trash about me from what I’m hearing, but I don’t really pay attention to calling me out,” Cruz said recently on The MMA Hour. “I’m sorry that people calling me doesn’t affect me. Like I said, I focus on dates. I don’t say no to fights - I don’t know where he’s getting this idea that I do. I say no to dates. Opponents don’t really matter, because you’re going to have to fight everybody to get to [a] championship anyways.”
In a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Vera said Cruz declined to fight him on multiple occasions, citing his rankings. He relished his current position above Cruz in the UFC’s top-15 and added a message for the ex-champ: “If you want it, come get it.”
As fired up as Vera seems to be, Cruz can’t be bothered. Any opponent ranked above him is his choice for his next opponent. That list includes champ Aljamain Sterling, ex-champ Petr Yan, and Merab Dvalishvili, among others. There’s nothing personal there with Vera, he said.
“So if he thinks I said no, I said no to dates,” Cruz said. “OK. That’s between him and his manager, whatever his manager is telling him is what he’s going to believe. I’m not opposed to that.
“What’s funny is I did hear him saying he wants somebody in the top-five or top-four, so why would he ask for those [opponents with those rankings] if it didn’t matter. If moving up the ladder didn’t matter, then why would you ask for somebody above you, not underneath you in the division, like he’s done. Well, it’s the same reason I have, the same reason the rest of us all have: We’re all fighting in the same bracket to be champion. So yeah, I’m not opposed to it. He’s ranked above me now, too. So sure. Let’s get the date.”
Cruz hopes to return to the octagon at a UFC pay-per-view event. Given the current schedule, an August or September date is most likely. He is currently waiting for the UFC’s word on who will be next.
When they call, Cruz stressed he’ll only be listening to the month and day – not the opponent.