How Dominick Cruz Won Back the UFC Title (techniques) Part 3 of 4

Welcome to part 3. if you missed part 2, go here: How Dominick Cruz Won Back the UFC Tittle (techniques) Part 2 of 4

The Slide Step footwork

Slide stepping: We introduced Dominick Cruz’s slide step footwork in previous articles about his fighting style. I shared a video where he demonstrated how the slide step works. ( If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the previous breakdown on the Dominick Cruz style breakdown to see how it works.)

cruz slide step into nothing edited
Slide step. Note the weight is on the back leg in case he needs to escape.

As a refresher, Cruz uses the slide step to hit an advantageous angle on the outside of the opponent and uses it to feint them. Note the angle is often advantageous because he hit’s positions where his opponent’s offensive tools are limited (there’s more detail about that in the Cruz style breakdown). He puts a lot of weight on his back leg because it allows him to escape in that direction in the event an opponent tries to counter. Cruz has mentioned that this can be used to bait a reaction. You can use the slide step to see if they will counter you as you feint them. If they don’t attack, Cruz uses that time to go on the offense. Let’s look how this worked in the fight from different scenarios.

Using the slide step to feint, but they attack you. Note that Cruz doesn’t hit a angle as steep as the examples above, but his slide step still works all the same to gauge a reaction. Here, the reaction of T.J. is to attack. Cruz evades accordingly by moving back and counters with his power hand. This example shows Cruz using the slide step in either the right or left side of the opponent.


cruz slide feint bait comp.gif
Cruz weight is always on the back leg in the event he needs to escape. He bait’s T.J. to move in, retreats and counters back.


Using the slide step to see if they will attack. Here Cruz hits the slide step to read that T.J. wont attack. He sense that T.J. is inactive so on the next sequence, then Cruz goes on the attack.


cruz slide step into combo.gif
Slide step to read an inactive reaction from T.J.’s end, then moves in to attack.

Here’s a few more creative uses of the slide step that Cruz showed in the fight.

  • Cruz slide steps into a body shot and pulls away.
    • Cruz slide step body shot.gif
  • Cruz throws a cross and transitions into a slide step to throw the power hand.
    • cruz cross into slide step powe rhand.gif
  • Cruz slide steps, lead hook
    • cruz slide step, end with hook.gif

The Art Slide Stepping

I’ve showed examples of Cruz using the slide step to move to one side, but he does have the ability to move to either side of the opponent using the slide step. He demonstrates this by moving his rear leg up into a more squared up position so that he can hit the slide step onto the other side of the opponent. This can be demonstrated in the following example. I wanted to include this footage in the breakdown because Cruz does it so fast in fights, people don’t quite see the subtle footwork adjustments made. This example makes it more clear.

cruz hop step shifting.gif
Rear leg steps forward, the he slide steps outward.

You’re going to see a sweet sequence soon of Cruz slide stepping into a hook, so stay tuned.

Cruz going on the Defense/Counter

Cruz has quite a lot of movement combinations that were utilized to evade and counter T.J.. He uses various movement patterns to keep you guessing and to manipulate where he wants you to attack. I won’t cover all of it, but here are a few common habits Cruz used to evade and counter his opponent.

Going back to the slide step, Cruz actually added a more aggressive twist to using it. You can observe Cruz using it to hit T.J. with hooks simultaneously as he moves. In this sequence, he uses the slide step while throwing a lead hook at the same time. He really sat down on his punches in this sequence.

Cruz slide step while countering.gif
This time Cruz uses to slide step to attack simultaneously with a lead hook while moving at the new angle. He catches T.J. coming in.

Here’s another example of different sequences where Cruz uses the slide step to evade at an angle and counters back. This happens quick, so you can refer back to that training footage as reference. He effectively changes his stance and opens up a new angle to attack.

Cruz slide step countering comps.gif


For the final part 4, go here: How Dominick Cruz Won Back the UFC Tittle (techniques) Part 4 of 4




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