Boston headliners exude swagger as fights near

A little over a week before Dominick Cruz makes his long-awaited return to challenge TJ Dillashaw for the bantamweight title, the fighters fielded questions on the Fight Night Boston media conference call.

Breaking news: Dillashaw and Cruz are still at it.

“(Cruz) just doesn’t mind talking sh*t,” Dillashaw said Friday of the challenger’s continued barrage of insults in the lead up to fight night. “I’m just not one of those guys. He can’t take the fact that I believe in myself and I’m a better fighter.

“You got to laugh it off. You let him talk crap and look like an idiot, but it all comes down to the night of the fight.”

Cruz said talking is just talking, and Dillashaw would be wise to open up his mind to selling the fight, because fans want more than just the matchup itself.

“TJ is the type of guy that would rather fight than talk, and I think that’s because he’s not that smart,” Cruz said. “But people want to hear what we have to say as athletes and they just don’t want to see what we do as fighters … They want to hear what you believe in yourself leading into the fight.”

Dillashaw may not love to talk, but Cruz knows the champion is confident in his abilities.

UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and his co-main event opponent in Boston, Eddie Alvarez, also joined the call, and each exuded his own brand of swagger.

Pettis, coming off a disappointing loss against current champion Rafael dos Anjos in March of 2015, conceded he took his spot at the top for granted and that lack of urgency cost him.

“It was a mental error I think. I can’t look at that fight and pick particularly what happened. It was so many small mistakes and the preparation wasn’t there,” Pettis said. “I just took it for granted a little bit. I just got re-focused and re-motivated. I got a tough guy in front of me (now) to keep me motivated for training.”

That tough guy is Alvarez, who is coming off his first UFC victory against Gilbert Melendez. He’s faced nothing but Top 5 talent since arriving in the UFC, and Alvarez knows that a big performance puts him exactly where he wants to be.

“In my eyes I’m always in contention. You’re always one big knockout, one big fight away from being the next big thing in this sport,” Alvarez said. “For me this has never been a sprint. So I’m not trying to get something I don’t deserve right away. I want the best guys, so here comes January 17.”

Don’t miss Fight Night Boston on Jan. 17 on FOX Sports 1. The main card begins at 10 p.m./7 p.m. ETPT and tickets are still available.

Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC
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