Saturday at UFC 269, Pedro Munhoz will be in uncharted waters that no fighter has ever been in, he will be going from fighting one legend to another as he faces Dominick Cruz. They will be squaring off on a loaded UFC card that has forced about that many see as a potential show-stealer to the preliminary card.
Dominick Cruz vs. Pedro Munhoz Preview
The former UFC and WEC bantamweight champion will be competing for the second time in 2021, the first time he has fought twice in a calendar year since 2016, so it will be interesting to see how he looks compared to when he has the long layoffs. Cruz has always been a strong denier of ring rust, proving it in his own way to be “made-up” when he came back from three years off due to injuries to knockout Takeya Mizugaki.
During fight week this week Cruz has begun to hype himself back up as a strong title contender and while his resume is worth respecting, many questions regarding what he has left in the tank to sustain any sort of run to the title in a loaded bantamweight class keep circling. Cruz will enter the fight ranked ninth but the eight men in front of him present a tough challenge, including the man ranked eighth who he faces Saturday.
Pedro Munhoz is coming off a loss that he didn’t look outclasses in but definitely outworked against Jose Aldo and has lost three of his last four bouts. A win against Cruz would go a long way to getting him back on the path up the rankings. A loss on the other hand would most likely see him drop outside the top ten and at age 35 would make it almost impossible to make the climb to a title shot before his athletic career could be over.
X-Factor of the Fight
The biggest challenge of the fight will be for Dominick Cruz, he has to figure out a way to stay on the outside of Pedro Munhoz’s striking. Munhoz possesses fast hands and excellent ability to get inside for either striking or grappling, Cruz used to have some of the best footwork in the entire sport so him taking those dancing shoes out on Saturday may go a long way.
The fight itself should make for a very entertaining one for as long as it lasts and to be honest, who knows how many more times we get to see one of the sports greatest. Tune in on the prelims on ESPN+ to watch a great matchup between two aging veterans and maybe the start of one last run for one of the sports’ greatest champions.