Cruz on Monday commented for the first time on his loss, a brutal stoppage by head kick at the 2:17 mark of Round 4 in the headliner of the ESPN+ event at Pechanga Arena. The two-time bantamweight champ availed himself well before getting caught with the fight-ending shot, which snapped a two-fight winning streak and dashed his hopes at an immediate title shot.
“I’m grateful to all of you who came out on Saturday, and for all the love and support here!” Cruz wrote on Instagram. “The body feels great and I’m thankful for my health. I’ll be seeing you all next up on September 10th at the desk.”
Cruz is a regular presence beside the cage as a UFC commentator and is widely acknowledged as one of the more knowledgeable experts on breaking down fights and styles. His blunt delivery hasn’t always meshed with his fellow commentators such as retired champ Daniel Cormier, though he recently said he is working on becoming a more relaxed presence at work.
Vera’s win marked the biggest of his career and quite possibly put him in line to face the winner of an upcoming title bout at UFC 280 between champ Aljamain Sterling and ex-champ T.J. Dillashaw, whom Cruz defeated six years ago to recapture the title he vacated due to a long injury layoff.
The 37-year-old Cruz is currently ranked at No. 11 in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings for bantamweight. He has received an extended medical suspension by the California State Athletic Commission, which oversaw UFC San Diego, but the term has not yet been released.