Dominick Cruz has been talking about making his return to the Octagon and there were rumors he would fight Cory Sandhagen at UFC San Diego. But, the former bantamweight champion says he agreed to fight Petr Yan before Sandhagen.
Sandhagen took to social media to say he accepted the fight against Cruz. But, the former champ says he never got offered a fight against the surging contender.
“That’s what I want to clear up because I keep getting people asking me about Cory Sandhagen and that he took the fight, and then he asked me or something,” Cruz told MMA Fighting. “I’m like, ‘well, is that a fact, or is that your experience?’ because I didn’t talk to Cory Sandhagen.
“Who said that I took it? What I’ve heard is that he’s saying that he took the fight and I didn’t. My question is, who did he talk to that said that I got offered the fight and I said no? What I know is, there’s only one common denominator between myself and any of the other fighters that might get matched up, Sean Shelby. He’s the matchmaker. Don’t we all know that in the whole world?
“So Sean Shelby is the matchmaker, me and Cory Sandhagen don’t talk, who is Cory Sandhagen getting his information from? He’s getting it from the matchmaker. Where else would he get it? He’s the only guy talking to both of us, isn’t he?
“What Shelby does is he creates fights between the fighters before the fight happens so that he can get himself out of the way,” Cruz continued. “That’s my experience. It’s not a fact. And what I’m getting from this is Shelby’s telling Sandhagen about me, then Cory Sandhagen puts it out there and then expects me to bite.”
For Dominick Cruz, he says when he told Sean Shelby he wanted to return the conversation started with what is the fastest way to get a title shot. So, the name that came up was Petr Yan which Cruz said he accepeted.
“Sean Shelby told me, in all reality: I said, ‘how do I come back and get a title shot the fastest,’” Cruz explained. “He said, ‘you can get a title shot if you fight Petr Yan.’ I said I want that fight. He said, ‘well, technically, that’s a harder fight so you’ll get a title shot right after it, but we don’t want to give you a title shot right after so we would give you Sandhagen before you get Yan.’
“I was thinking, I want a title shot. I don’t want to just fight somebody, I want to fight towards the title. So I would fight anybody, let me get the title shot after that fight.
“[Sean Shelby said] ‘Petr Yan’s the guy.’ I said yes, I’ll fight Petr Yan. He said I can’t fight Petr Yan because he’s fighting Marlon Moraes. Well then I’ll fight Moraes, or Petr Yan, because those are direct fights straight to the title. After I beat either of those guys, I get a title shot. That’s what I’m in this for, not to fight 13 times beforehand.
“Sean Shelby’s saying all of this stuff to different fighters and not telling me about it,” Cruz continued. “You offered me Petr Yan to get to the title, and then you switched it up. That’s the truth.
“I never said no to Sandhagen, I never would. I don’t say no to fights. What I said no to was not fighting Petr Yan. I want to fight Petr Yan, I want to fight Marlon Moraes, I want to fight for the title after I fight one of those guys. If you need me to get one fight back before I fight for the title, give me that guy you need me to fight to get to that title.”
In the end, when Dominick Cruz will fight again is to be seen. But, he makes it clear he only wants fights that gets him a title shot the fastest.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime