Oft-injured Dominick Cruz finally returned to action in the main event of last Sunday’s (January 17, 2016) UFC Fight Night 81 after having only competed once over the last four years, and being stripped of his title in 2014.
Taking on TJ Dillashaw, “The Dominator” edged out a split decision victory to reclaim the title he had never technically lost in a close fought bout.
Many were worried, however, when Cruz walked out of the Octagon limping heavily, apparently suffering an injury to his foot. Unaware of what the issue was, it has now been made clear that the reigning champion will luckily avoid yet another surgery.
That being said, Cruz should be ready to defend his 135-pound strap within the coming months, shifting the focus of fight fans to who may be next in line.
The logical choice would be a trilogy bout with bitter rival No. 3-ranked divisional mainstay Urijah “The California Kid” Faber. Soon after his most recent bout, “The Dominator” made it seem as if he was sick of talking about Faber, appearing to be uninterested in the bout.
However, his tune has now changed, as he has expressed interest in finishing “The California Kid” once and for all:
“For the past four years, the only name I’ve been asked about is Faber,” Cruz said in a text message to MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani. “Whether I’m on the FOX desk or shopping at the mall. Let’s get him out of my face and out of the way, so I can continue to clean out the division.
“We owe it to the fans to make this trilogy happen. It’s been almost a decade in the making.”
Faber came out on top when the two met for the first time in 2007, scoring a submission victory, but it was Cruz who walked away with a decision victory in the rematch in 2012.
Who will settle the score when these two bantamweight legends inevitably meet for a third time?