When the lights went down and the last fans had left the arena at UFC 207, two very different bantamweight champions were left without a belt and an uncertainty about the future. Both Dominick Cruz and Ronda Rousey lost their championship fights that night, Ronda had hoped for a comeback win, Dominick wanted to keep his title. Neither succeeded.
Now, nearly three months later, Cruz is offering some words of wisdom to Rousey who has had a tough time with her losses in the past:
“It’s heartbreaking for me, I know what she’s feeling, I know what she’s going through,” Cruz said on last week’s episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast (h/t Bloody Elbow). “And as a female, it’s even on another level, I can’t really imagine that. It’s a different level of scrutiny, I would imagine.”
“It shows how hard it is to deal with this, man," he said. "The ups and downs. Because the downs hit hard, just as hard as the ups hit. There can’t be any separation in who you are with the win and a loss because if there is, it’s gonna show. And you got to be who you are and not be solely connected to fighting as your whole being. Otherwise, you’re over when it ends.”
Neither former champion currently holds the title for the divisions they dominated respectively, but Cruz is confident that he is complete without it. He isn't so sure about Rousey though.
“We’re all putting so much into this one thing that we think that is our everything,” Cruz said. “When really, it sounds cheesy, but if you put all that energy towards loving yourself and not the fight career, the fight career will still be there just as heavy as it is. She’s using the fighting as her identity. With that championship belt, she is Ronda Rousey, the Ronda Rousey. Without the championship belt, we don’t know who she is. She won’t come out. So, who are you unless you’re winning? We don’t know. Do you know?”
He feels that Ronda needs to separate herself from the belt and realize she is still the same person — with or without that gold strap.
“You’re counting on that belt to know who you are now,” Cruz said. “And that was my biggest point. That was a hurdle I ran into when I lost my belt. I didn’t know who I was anymore. And that’s how I knew this. That’s how I figured out what my issues were.”