Cape Town - At UFC Fight Night Boston, Dominic Cruz did what many would have told him would be impossible when he recaptured the UFC bantamweight championship of the world.
Cruz was entering the Octagon for only the second time in over four years according to Jim Edwards of FightStorePro.
His one other appearance during that period was in 2014 when he returned to take on Takeya Mizugaki in what turned out to be a 61-second squash.
Sunday night however, was something totally different. Cruz returned to take on TJ Dillashaw, a man full of confidence riding hot on the heels of three dominant championship fights and ranked as high as fourth in the UFC's 'Pound-For-Pound' rankings.
Many said that Dillashaw had mimicked Cruz's fighting style and incredible footwork and had taken it to new levels under the tutelage of coach Duane 'Bang' Ludwig.
This is something Cruz had always refuted, labelling Dillashaw a 'wannabe' and saying that there were 'absolute no similarities'. Last night Cruz provided us the evidence of that with a demonstration of technical class and movement that could that was arguably was one of the best ever seen in the UFC
Dipping, ducking and sliding the majority of this opponents strikes, Cruz followed up with combinations of 3-4 strikes that he landed with frequency. Dillashaw had his moments in the fight late on when leg strikes started to hamper Cruz, but it was the former champion's takedowns that he mixed in throughout the earlier rounds that earned him the eventual nod on the scorecards.
Cruz, the master, had conquered his supposed evolution. It was close and the decision on another night could have likely gone another way, but last evening was Cruz's night and who could deny him the glory after such a nightmare last four years.
After three major knee surgeries and a more recent groin injury, Cruz had climbed back on top of the pile in the UFC bantamweight division and proven to all doubters that he was still one of the 'pound-for-pound' best in the organisation.
Overcoming such incredible odds and reclaiming his crown may have led you to expect that Cruz would declare this the greatest moment of his life, however speaking after to Ariel Helwani after, 'The Dominator' quite poetically said:
"The greatest moment of my life was when I realised didn't need a belt to keep me happy."
On Sunday night we witnessed a man so at peace with his nightmare that he turned it back into a dream. Dominic Cruz is again champion of the UFC's bantamweight division and who is anyone to deny him his crown back.