This is an abridged transcript of MMA Nation's Matthew Roth interviewing UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
Matt Roth: It sounds like a real similar injury, you were saying?
Dominick Cruz: It's pretty much the same thing almost man, which sucks because that surgery sucked (laughs).
Matt Roth: Now, the post-fight press conference, Dana White was singing your praises saying you could have complained, you could have made excuses and said, "I broke my hand." What does it mean for you, the UFC President was basically saying you're on eof the toughest guys, you weren't making excuses.
Dominick Cruz: Well I mean, I appreciate it. I appreciate the fact that he sees things the way that we do. That means he sees things as a fighter would see things and I appreciate that. It tells, it's good that somebody like Dana who has all these things to worry about, I can't even imagine where his head is at, to take the time and think about the fact that I had to go into this fight with my hand from round one hurt to round five and fight through it. I appreciate the fact that he recognizes that. I didn't want to say anything about my hand because I don't wanna sound like I'm trying to make excuses like, "look, I did that with this problem." Like, who cares? You know, that's why I didn't say anything. It doesn't really matter. Demetrious fought an awesome fight, we had an awesome fight. It didn't really play a difference in the fight. I was able to go through the fight and do what I needed to do. It hurt, a little bit of pain but that can't really stop anybody. When you're fighting for a title, you have to be willing to die out there.
Matt Roth: It seems like a wild attitude and even Dana alluded to even so many people would cite it. Where does that come from? Is that the way you were brought up? Is that something your whole team believes in? Where does that come from?
Dominick Cruz: I think it has to do with, I've said it in a lot of different interviews. One, no one cares if you're hurt unless you're winning. If you get hurt and you lose, everyone thinks you're making excuses. On top of that, growing up in sports, if you've got a swollen ankle, you've got to think, "Do I want to wrestle or do I want to worry about my swollen ankle and sit out?" Well I'd rather wrestle than worry about a swollen ankle. I'll deal with the swollen ankle. Do I want to fight for the world title and prove I'm the best on the planet pound for pound one day? Absolutely. Or do I want to sit out and rest my hand so it's 100 percent. So many fighters fight hurt, that's part of the sport. What separates the best in the world from the guys who are trying to make it is how you handle the mental battle and being injured going into a fight. It's not easy. It messes with your brain and you can either accept it or you can try to deal with it. It always depends on the severity of the injury obviously but this was enough that I was able to tough it out and God-willing I made it through the fight. Like I've said many times, I give God praise for getting me through the fight and for doing an awesome job doing the things I've done.
Matt Roth: This kind of falls into the UFC insurance policy. As a fighter, because you have had broken hands before, you've had injuries before, everybody does. Does it give you more piece of mind, not having to worry about your savings account.
Dominick Cruz: Are you kidding me? Really, think about it. I haven't had health insurance my entire career up until now. That's such a relief, you don't' even know because I was having to spend my win money to fix myself sometimes. It sucked (laughs). It's so much easier and thank you again UFC for hooking that up. I don't have to pull money out of my bank to fix my hand injuries.
(Talking about fighting through the injury)
Dominick Cruz: This is the way my brain works. If I sit there and I thrive on it and I say, "Man, my hand is jacked." Then you know what I'm gonna do? I'm not gonna throw my right hand. I need to throw my right hand. I'm in a flippin' fight with a number one contender. It's not a joke. So what I do is say, "Stop, you sacrifice your body to get through a fight, that's what it's all about." That's why I never understood sometimes how fans can boo because no matter what at the end of the day, I'm out there sacrificing my body to put on a show for them so I hope that people can see it that way for all fighters everywhere. We're all sacrificing our bodies. When I went out there and said, "Screw it," it's a sacrifice and I'm not the only one that does it. Every fighter out there is doing it and that's why I've got so much respect.
On who he'd rather fight, Cruz or Bowles. (includes breakdown of the Faber-Bowles fight)
Dominick Cruz: I wouldn't say there's a preference. I'll take either one. I want to the number one contender and that will prove it. What else can you say, I want to the best guys in the world and if Faber beats Bowles, he's the best. If Bowles beats Faber, awesome. Either one I'm fighting for the second time so it doesn't really matter. I think that Faber's got the advantage in that fight though. I think he's going to be able to take Bowles down a little easier than Bowles can do so to him and he can dictate that therefore he can dictate where the fight's gonna be and Faber's good enough on his feet that he's not just gonna go out there and get slept in the first round. He can grind Bowles out if he can beat him up from top position.
On the crowd reaction in DC
Dominick Cruz: They weren't booing me in DC, they were saying, "Cruuuuuuuuuz!" (laughs).