Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz returns to action at UFC 219 and he is going to be taking on Jimmie Rivera.
Even though the fight is a three round non-title bout, the former champion is saying that it is a title fight in the end.
"We don't make near as much money -- we don't get paid near the same -- unless we fight for the belt," Cruz said to ESPN. "It doesn't matter, though. Jimmie Rivera, to me, is the title fight. This is how I've approached every fight until now: The person they put in front of me is the title. That's it."
Cruz has been with the UFC since July of 2011 and this is only the second time he has competed in a bout where no title was on the line.
The former champion knows that all he needs to do to pick up another victory is to be himself inside of the Octagon.
"I just have to be me, man. Me being me doesn't lose to Jimmie Rivera. But more importantly, a healthy me doesn't lose to anybody in the world,” says Cruz.
UFC 219 takes place on Saturday, December 30 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with no main event announced at this time. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.