In a sport that boasts so many athletes that put in the time, the energy and train in the martial arts it is easy to get lost in the fray of participants who end up fighting in the cage. What sets people apart from the pack, what makes a person stand out from the crowd are the intangibles involved that are usually traits you are born with or characteristics that takes more than gym hours to develop. In the sport of mixed martial arts that varies from physical gifts like a tough chin or powerful hands, from mental traits like handling nerves or staying focused no matter the task at hand and emotional characteristics like the ability to step up to adversity and push through the toughest moments both mental and physical, always pushing forward to come out on top.
One Albuquerque fighter displays the heart to beat his opponent and adversity hand in hand and still keeps a smile on his face. Judgment MMA’s Adrian Cruz (2-0 pro, 5-2 amateur) has seen his fair share of ups and downs throughout his lifetime. As a promising high school athlete, Cruz would find success in his California high school as well as placing sixth and third in the state while attending Highlands and Cibola respectively.
With a promising athletic career coming out of high school, Cruz would taste adversity in a big way. After a vicious automobile accident that left Cruz with two broken legs and a torn ACL, most of the promise that came with his athletic success was but an after thought. Possible scholarships were now out of reach as the rehabilitation to get back on track would prove to be a severe, daunting task.
Cruz saw his fair share of the gyms Albuquerque had to offer after recovering fully from surgeries, from Jackson’s to Eric Kucevic’s gym, he made a stop along the way at Mean 1 MMA and is currently training out of Scott Marlowe’s Judgment MMA. Cruz has been training actively in mixed martial arts for about three years and his hard work and success carried over very well from his high school wrestling days.
With a successful run in the amateur circuit, Cruz would debut as a pro in December of 2011 under the Evolution Combat Sports banner. Winning in the second round by TKO, the hard work showed brightly in a feel good story of Adrian Cruz’s resurgence in competitive combat sports. He’d follow up nine months later for his second pro fight for the King of the Cage promotion, fighting an hour north of Albuquerque in Santa Fe to battle what ended up being a very gritty opponent.
In August, Cruz was paired up with late replacement Jesus Urbina. Ironically, Cruz was also a late addition to the card and well he stays conditioned was coming into his second pro fight with hardly any time to prepare for the actual bout. While Cruz won a unanimous decision improving his pro record to 2-0, the fight didn’t come with ease. In a very competitive bout, the fight may very well have been decided by who was coming out of scrambles on top.
Through three rounds, the two combatants would fight for position and Cruz showed his intangibles in full form as his heart and desire to overcome adversity would earn him the nod and the judges approval. That type of performance is what sets Cruz from a lot of other quality wrestlers who transitioned into the sport. It is also a performance that creates fans and the crowds clamor to see more of the fighter.
Stay tuned fight fans and be prepared to see Adrian Cruz once again in the cage as he is currently scheduled for a November 10th return to King of the Cage in Santa Fe, NM.