When bantamweight Dominick Cruz speaks of the sacrifices he’s made to get to Saturday’s world title fight against champion Brian Bowles at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, you can tell that there’s more at stake for him than a shiny gold belt. You quickly see that this isn’t your typical “winning the belt is my dream” underdog story.
For the 24-year-old San Diego resident, Saturday’s world title fight is an opportunity to change his life forever. Should Cruz win his first world championship this weekend, gone will be the days of eating Top Ramen to get by. Gone too will be the days of him sleeping on the floor on a worn-out mattress. If Cruz (14-1) is able to best unbeaten champion Bowles (8-0) on Saturday, he believes the life of hardship he’s lived will be changed for eternity.
“I didn’t grow up with much, so I’ve learned to live my life with the bare minimums,” Cruz said. “I grew up in a trailer and didn’t have a lot of nice things. It was about as rough as it gets. This fight gives me a chance to change that. I’m kinda tired of sleeping on hand-me-down mattresses. I’ve been blessed to come this far and overcome all of that. On Saturday, I want all of the sacrifices to pay off.”
To say that Cruz is motivated for this fight is an understatement. Aside from being considered a heavy underdog to Bowles by many, Cruz is fueled by those who wonder if he can handle Bowles’ arsenal. Given the champion’s recent destruction of former beltholder Miguel Angel Torres – a man who had won 17 straight fights before meeting Bowles – some wonder if Cruz can withstand what lies ahead of him on March 6. Despite the tall task that awaits, “The Dominator” remains unfazed. Unbeaten at 4-0 since dropping to 135-pounds in 2008, Cruz believes his skill set is the best in the division and plans to prove it this weekend.
“I know for a fact that I have power and I know for a fact that I can finish fights,” Cruz, who trains alongside UFC star Brandon Vera and WEC lightweight Ed Ratcliff at Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., said. “I go into every fight with the mentality to finish my opponent. Brian Bowles is a great opponent. But I’ve prepared myself for everything Brian is going to bring to the table.
“I try to devout my every waking hour into MMA and into this fight, because my goal is to be a world champion,” Cruz, who defeated Joseph Benavidez in August to earn a world title shot, continued. “This is an incredible opportunity for me and I’m ready for everything that comes my way on March 6. I’m ready to stop the fight in the first round. I’m ready to take it five rounds. Wherever it goes, I’m prepared for everything. This is my chance.”
Tickets for WEC: Bowles vs. Cruz are on sale now and priced at $125, $75, $45, and $25. Tickets may be purchased at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, at all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available at the FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line store at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing and ticket outlets at Chiller Dublin, Chiller Easton and Chiller North. Tickets are subject to service charges.
WEC: Bowles vs. Cruz will be televised nationally live on VERSUS beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. All of the network’s live WEC events are presented in HD and Spanish language SAP where available. For more information and how to find VERSUS in your local viewing area, visit http://www.versus.com/findversus.
Follow WEC at http://twitter.com/WEConVERSUS.