Dana White Defends Dominick Cruz Getting a Title Shot, Shares Plan For Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Next Fight

Since Dominick Cruz hasn't fought since 2016, not everyone's on board with the former champ getting a title shot at UFC 249. But, recently Dana White defended the move.

Dominick Cruz may be one one the best bantamweights of all time, if not the best. But, not everyone’s happy about the decision to have him fight current champ, Henry Cejudo at UFC 249.

Well, following the official announcement of the UFC 249 line-up, Dana White defended the card’s co-main event. He also shared out the plan for Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next title defense.

Image Credit: UFC / YouTube

White responds to critics of Cejudo – Cruz fight

Cejudo was initially schedule to fight former featherweight champ Jose Aldo at UFC 250 on May 9th. But, due to the coronavirus pandemic, those plans, as well as many others, were tossed out.

Since Aldo was coming off a loss to Marlon Moraes in December, the booking was also scrutinized. It’s proponents, however, argued that Aldo should have been awarded the decision win over Moraes.

In the case of Cruz, however, not only is he coming off a clear loss to Cody Gabrandt, that bout took place in 2016. The renowned fighter has been sidelined ever since due to various injuries.

As a result the Cejudo versus Cruz booking has also taken some heat, but while talking to ESPN on Instagram, White said this (quotes via MMA Junkie).

“He’s still one of the best in the world,” White said. “He’s one of the best in the world. He’s a guy who has been incredibly plagued with injuries throughout his career. But, he’s still looked at as one of the best in the world.”

“For a guy like Henry Cejudo, who literally is willing to fight anybody and wants to fight all the best – you want Jose Aldo, the Dominick Cruz’s and those kind of guys on your resume.”

Now, if you prefer your matchmaking made the meritocratic route, then chances are White’s comments here won’t resonate. Other bantamweights like Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan and Corey Sandhagen have scoring wins and recently.

But, in terms of a name, Cruz has one of the biggest at 135 pounds, and understandably so.

White talks plans for Khabib’s next bout

In the main event for UFC 249, Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson are going to battle for an interim title. While talking about the current champ, Nurmagomedov, White confirmed that he’ll face the winner (quotes via MMA Junkie).

“The Ferguson vs. Gaethje fight is one of the most violent fights you will see,” White said. “I can guarantee that. This fight is going to be incredible. The winner will fight Khabib for the title. This is for the interim. 100 percent (the winner fights Khabib).”

“Khabib will be back in September or October,” White said.

Now, that news shouldn’t come as too big of  a surprise. But, it is interesting to hear White say that they’re looking at September or October, and not August.

Recently Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, said that the champ could fight as early as August if the promotion wanted.

UFC 249 will take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

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