“He (Rubenstein) just sent me the name of my opponent and his Tapology record,” said Cruz. “So the first thing that pops into my phone is a picture of Steven Nguyen with his hand raised and I was excited, but at the same time, I got that drop in my stomach that happens every time I get an opponent. Then I showed my girlfriend and she started screaming. She did all the excitement for me. (Laughs) I didn’t really get too hyped up, but I was excited on the inside. So it was a blessing.”
And when his name was called, he delivered. Now he’s on the UFC roster, he was able to pay off some debts and free up more training time, and he’s got a bright future in front of him. The only bad thing is that everyone is going to be looking for that knee from now on.
“I’d really have to set it up if I was gonna hit it again,” he admits with a laugh. “If I hit it again and lightning strikes twice, that would be awesome, though.”
It would be. But no matter what he comes up with on fight night, he’s glad that he will be doing it in the UFC.
“When you’re not in the UFC, there’s like a big wall and you’re just trying to look over the wall and see in,” Cruz said. “‘Man, I wish I could be in there.’ (Laughs) And now I’m inside and I have been looking at the lower-ranked featherweights to see who I would be able to fight. And I am in the division, so the guys I’m looking at, I could actually be fighting now.”