In a follow-up to Dana White’s comments this week, regarding talks with Dominick Cruz and the fighter’s anticipated “beginning of” 2014 comeback, Cruz himself, is publicly backing up the statement.

By way of released video, “The Dominator” says that rehab is going great, that his speed and sharpness are returning, and that he’s on track for his return to the Octagon.

Dominick, who as we all know has been laid-up with an ACL injury since May of last year, is mindful of the fact that he’s not defended his belt since October of 2011, yet he’s paying it no heed.

The Dominator says that he views Barao as a champion, however, as he himself wasn’t defeated in the ring and the belt not taken from him, he feels that he’s deserving of a shot at the interim champion. To that end, Cruz seems to be unapologetic in how he feels about it.

In terms of how he’s been preparing for his return, Cruz said that one thing he’s done was spend half-an-hour picking the brain of boxing legend, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

In speaking with Rick Lee, Cruz commented:  

“Regardless of whether you like him or you don’t like him, that’s somebody who’s been in the sport for 15, plus years, of boxing at the game, and at the highest level and he’s competed against all the best mentally and physically, preparing for these title fights. If you’re not picking the brain of somebody like that, then you’re not trying to improve. That’s what I went for. I went to improve. So, I went to watch Mayweather. I was blessed enough to get to sit in the back, talk to him for about 30 minutes, pick his brain and just really learn a ton. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t take it back for a second.”

In terms of what he was looking for, Dominick says he wanted that “mental edge”. He wanted to learn how boxers prepare for a fight; how they drill, hit the bag and mix up their workouts, in order to get the most out of their timing and skill set.  

As to the reason why he’s so interested in mental edge, Cruz remarked that since he’s been out he’s learned that what “makes the best in this game” is 90% mental. Cruz believes it all boils down to how much pressure you can take; how much of the media and their “opinions” can you take; how much of the “opinions of everybody” can you take; that you have to be able to deal with that, just as much as the physical punishment.

To this end, Cruz has developed a formula and it’s a simple one. Dominick says he tunes out the haters and the disbelievers, and only surrounds himself with positive people and positive energy and that the rest of it is nothing more that day-by-day grind.  

Speaking for myself, I can’t wait for Cruz’s return. I think he’s one of the best fighters in the world and the bantamweight division has been lesser without him. Indeed, the whole of the UFC has been lesser without him. He’s simply a great guy and great champion, and I wish him all the best on his road to recovery.