Today is the day, the final WEC event before the promotion merges with the UFC. As the door on the WEC closes, a much bigger door will open up January 1, 2011 at the now bigger and better Ultimate Fighting Championship.

A time to reminisce and reflect and the WEC and what it brought to the MMA table.

WEC 53 fighter and bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz talked with us about his time in the WEC and his fight with Scott Jorgensen. We also touched on Urijah Faber moving down to Bantamweight and who he trains with at Alliance MMA, including the “Thunder Squirrel”.

With WEC 53 being the last event for the promotion lets reflect on your time with the WEC.

  • What is your fight that you were in?

I’d have to say the fight in San Diego against Ian McCall. It was just a fun fight for me and one of the few times that I’ve had the fans behind me, cheering for me. I was fighting at home and got to wake up in my own bed instead of a hotel, it was just awesome to fight in San Diego in front of a lot of good fans to me.

  • What was your toughest fight?

Probably my last fight with Joseph Benavidez just because it went all 5 rounds and it was a fight from beginning to end.

  • Which opponent surprised you the most?

That’s a tough one, I’d have to say Charlie Valencia because he caught me with one big punch in that fight that really rocked me and I was able to recover from it and win that fight. Dudes got heavy hands, he’s been in the sport a long time and that dudes be smashing people for a long time. I have a lot of respect for Charlie Valencia

  • What was your favorite fight you weren’t in?

I’d say the Ben Henderson and Donald Cerrone going at it their first fight.

What does Scott Jorgensen bring to the table that you specifically worked on during your camp?

When I look at the fight I see a very similar style matchup to a lot of the guys I’ve already fought. He reminds me a lot of Ian McCall, Charlie Valencia in the wrestling / guillotine sense, Brian Bowles with the pressure he applies. To me I look at this fight as kind of mixture of all my fights I’ve had in the WEC coming together to prepare for Scott Jorgensen.

How big would it be to be the first ever UFC Bantanweight champ?

It would be a dream come true, that’s why everyone in the world fights is to be the UFC champ. For me to do something like that is literally everything that I’ve done in my life in sports would be coming together and it would be in vain. It would pretty much be everything that I have done as an athlete would come to that point and it would all be justified through that belt.

What did you think of the merger?

I always knew and wanted the WEC to merge. I love the WEC for what it was; I wouldn’t be where I was without them. I’m extremely thankful for what they’ve done for me but at the same time I knew it was just a matter of time that the fights we were putting on in the WEC that we were just going to get merged into the UFC. It’s something I’ve always wanted and I’m just super pumped that it took place and I was very shocked when it happened. I woke up one morning just to head out to practice like a normal day just like every day. At 9 o’clock in the morning my alarm went off and looked at my phone and I had a million tweets and messages that now I was in the UFC and it was extremely shocking.

Having lived in Arizona will you have friends and family there?

Oh yeah, everyone I went to high school with and my friends and family, I should see a lot of familiar faces out there.

You train at Alliance MMA, who were your primary training partners for this camp?

Nick “The Ghost” Gonzalez, Rolando “Thunder Squirrel” Perez, Wilson Reis, Danny Martinez and Scott Heckman.

How does one get a nickname of “Thunder Squirrel”???

You don’t make your own nickname, when you get a nickname it’s something that is given to you. Thunder Squirrel was something that was given to him just by the way he fights and the type of person he is, I can’t really explain it. It’s the type of thing that if you knew the guy you’d understand but just to say it you don’t.

What are your thoughts on Urijah Faber moving down to your weight class?

Right now I’m really focused on Scott Jorgensen. I’m less than seven days out from the biggest fight of my life that I’m not looking past. Will me and Urijah end up fight again, I’m almost certain it will happen again. Is it something I’m thinking about right now…. Not even a little bit, I can care less. I’m worried about Scott Jorgensen and that’s it. Urijah who?

Who would you like to fight if you could pick anyone?

I kind of want to fight Michael Jackson, I figure we are about the same weight class and I think it could be awfully close considering the footwork I’ve seen in the past.  I love Michael Jackson, I’m a fan and not hating on him at all.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a fighter?

I would be running my own business of some sort, that’s all I can say. God knows what type of business it would be, probably running my own business and coaching wrestling

Who is / was your hero?

My mom, I’m extremely impressed to see what she has done with me and brother.

What are your thoughts on the media?

Depends on which ones…. Some media has been real good to me, some media hasn’t. I really feel that they are just doing their job, but you got to be careful what you say around them because they will take something and drag us out the dry. I haven’t had any bad issues with the media

Anyone you’d like to thank?

Metal Mulisha, all my fans and people in Tucson, Arizona and San Diego, California, Alliance training center and also follow me on twitter, facebook and and Alive Church in Tucson.

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