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The Opening Round: Dominick Cruz-ZZZ

Quick! Pretend you didn’t read the title of this column and answer the following question. Which UFC champion has gone the longest since finishing an opponent?

Did you say Georges St. Pierre? Maybe Frank Edgar thinking GSP seemed like too obvious a choice? In either case you would have been wrong by about a year (or more in the case of Edgar).

As a matter of fact, bantamweight title-holder Dominick Cruz is the proud owner of that distinction. The last time Cruz stopped someone with strikes or a submission came in March 2008. Sure, Brian Bowles broke his hand at WEC 47 and couldn’t continue, but an injury does not a finish make.

Technicalities aside, Cruz has yet to actually do more than outpoint an adversary under the Zuffa banner. Remove Bowles and he’s 7-1 in the UFC/WEC with all seven wins coming courtesy of the judges’ scorecards (and of course his hard work too).

It’s time to stop giving “The Dominator” a free pass when guys like Jon Fitch and St. Pierre could leave a bite on their plate after dinner and find themselves criticized by the MMA community for “not finishing”. Do you know how many consecutive decision wins Fitch has since his last technique-driven stoppage? The same as Cruz – seven.

Cruz is talented without question. He’s 18-1 for a reason and wins are really the only stat that truly matters in the long run. However, if he wants to be considered the best bantamweight in MMA he has to separate himself from the pack by putting a few dogs down. That process needs to start this weekend at UFC Live 6 when he faces the much-smaller Demetrious Johnson. “Mighty Mouse” is no slouch to be sure but he’s a natural flyweight and if Cruz can’t swat him, instead simply shooing him away, it’s time to lump him into the category of supremely skilled fighters who can’t consistently pull the trigger.

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!

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