Following a three-fight losing streak, featherweight Andrew Cruz has rebounded with back-to-back victories in his last two fights, including his most recent victory this past February over Drew Brokenshire at Front Street Fights 18.
Looking back on the bout with Brokenshire, Cruz feels it was just the kind of fight he wants to have; one that challenges him and helps make him a better fighter.
“Things are going good,” Cruz told MMAWeekly.com. “I had a title fight for Front Street Fights in February and won that by third round TKO over a pretty good opponent. He was 18-9, so it was a good confidence boost.
“Throughout my pro career and my amateur career I wanted to take fights against guys who were better than me – or so they thought were better than me. I don’t want easy fights. I want tough fights. I want to make it worth my time to make the weight cut, do the training, and make it worth the time. It’s the only way to boost your career, really.”
When he looks back over his last two wins, Cruz can see the improvements he has made in his game that has helped him get back on track.
“The biggest thing is that my striking came together,” said Cruz. “I wrestled in high school and I’m a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu, so the ground game has always been my world, but the striking that is something I’ve put together in 2019 and 2018 to where I’m more comfortable standing on my feet.
“I’m always the shorter fighter in there, so getting on the inside and doing the work I need to do to win the fight (has been an important development in my game).”
At LFA 75 on Friday in West Valley City, Utah, Cruz (6-3) will seek to pick up his third straight victory when he faces Jon Neal (10-1) in a main card 145-pound bout.
“(Neal) is a hometown guy so I cannot let it go to a decision,” Cruz said. “It has to be a finish.
“The biggest thing I’m watching out for is his long, lanky, legs, for his kicks. My plan is to keep pressure on him and don’t let him breath or give him time to think. I’m thinking a submission in the second round; an arm bar or something.”
Should Cruz come out of Friday’s bout healthy, he would like to close out 2019 with another fight and carry that momentum into 2020.
“I will try to get another fight before Thanksgiving,” said Cruz. “Last time with my fight on February 1, I was training over Christmas, and I had to kind of watch what I ate and made sure I got in the gym but also spend time with family.
“I try to have the holidays as off time, but we’ll try to get one more in before the end of the year hopefully.”