A defeated Cruz believes the fight was stopped too early, while also accusing referee Keith Peterson of smelling like alcohol and cigarettes.
“That was an early stoppage, 100 percent – I’m positive of it,” Cruz said on the UFC 249 post-fight show on ESPN (via Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie). “I wish there was a way to keep these refs a little more responsible sometimes. The guy smelled like alcohol and cigarettes, so who knows what he was doing. Definitely (he did). I wish they drug tested them. I know Herb Dean is good. He’s one of the best refs. I immediately when I saw that ref I was like, ‘Man, is there a way to veto a ref and get a new one?’ I wonder that.”
This fight was Cruz’s first in over three years, when he lost the UFC Bantamweight Title to Cody Garbrandt in the main event of UFC 207.
Cruz is adamant that he won’t be making any excuses for the loss in the UFC 249 co-main event.
“I’m not a guy to make excuses,” Cruz said. “If you put yourself in the position for the ref to mess something up in a stoppage, then you do so.”
It is unlikely that Cruz will get another shot at Cejudo, who retired a short time after the victory at UFC 249.