Dominick Cruz undergoes second ACL surgery; out another 6-9 months

Dominick Cruz undergoes second ACL surgery; out another 6-9 months


In a disappointing turn of events for UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, the fighter has reportedly underwent a second ACL surgery in a huge setback. According to, his trainer Eric Del Fierro confirmed the news earlier today, who noted that Cruz was headed to Los Angeles, CA to meet with doctors in an effort to find the best course of action for a speedy return:

“He’s pissed and disappointed. But I think he’s doing better now. Once he talked to the doctor and found out what was going on, he felt much better.”

Apparently, Cruz’s body had rejected the ACL, which was taken from a cadaver. A new one has been transplanted, but the recovery process will have to start all over again.

The champ injured his knee initially while training for his TUF Finale bout with Urijah Faber. The two had a grudge match that generated a decent amount of heat. Instead, Renan Barao fought and beat Faber for the interim belt. Cruz has not fought since fall 2011, and was eying a return to the Octagon in early 2013. Now, that appears to be impossible, and 2013 could even be fading fast. A reported rehabilitation time of 6-9 months could see Cruz defending his belt in the fall of next year, but there will be the obvious huge question marks after two ACL surgeries and a two-year layoff.

Cruz was a highly effective fighter with supreme movement, so this is devastating news for an agile fighter. Hopefully his surgeons will take the best course of action to ensure he returns at a high level. In any case, though, the division will have to go on in some form, so does this open the door for no excuses to make a Renan Barao versus Michael McDonald bout for the interim strap?

A huge fan of the sport since 1995, I love writing all aspects of the fight game. As Chief Editor of LowKick MMA, I strive to stay on the cutting edge of all things MMA related.
  • Brasil

    I beleive if any fighter does not compete for over 12 months he should forfeit the belt and get an imediate shot upon return.

    • littlewizard

      Totally agree with that statement

    • Evan Holober

      I don't agree with the 12 month initial time-table, but I agree for this situation.

      Take away Renan's interim tag, and make him the full champ. Then scedule a fight between him and Michael McDonald.

    • KeithFarrell
  • kungfurule

    I agree with you total agreement totally

  • KeithFarrell

    First of all, feel reeeealy bad fro Cruz – missing nearly 2 years of his prime, terrible situation.

    Secondly, I think Barao should remain the interim champion and just defend the hell out of the belt – treat it like a championship belt rather than a guaranteed #1 contender ticket.
    People moan that the interim belts aren't defended enough and then they moan that Barao will have too much time to defend the interim belt? Doesn't make sense to me.

    We have interim belts for a reason so let's put it to it's full use for the time being and when Cruz is back, if Barao still has the interim title, set up a legit champ vs champ match for the undisputed belt, both with multiple title defenses!

    • azzkika

      Supposing he defends the interim belt 4 times then beats Cruz upon his return he will then be the NEW champ when in reality was champ for the last 5 fights. I agree if a belt cannot be defended in a year it should be vacated with guaranteed shot for former champ (If cause is injury or some other legitimate reason) upon their return.

      This will keep the belt legitimate and the rightful champion wearing it.

      • KeithFarrell

        Interim defenses carry over to the undisputed title so I think Barao would keep them

  • KeithFarrell

    Oh just like to say, I've heard some comparisons with this and the situation with Mir as a champ being in the motorcycle accident and stripped of the title due to a very long lay off… these situations are not the same.

    Mir may have had to retire because of the accident, Cruz is extremely likely to recover fully and fight for many, many years to come.
    Mir was not the greatest fighter to ever compete in his division, Cruz is.
    Mir hadn't defended his belt, Cruz has defended it against 4 amazing opponents (3 who were ranked top 20 P4P at the time).
    Mir was not in the top 5 best P4P fighters in the world, Cruz probably is or at least 100% in top 7.

    This isn't flaming Mir (my second favourite HW), this is just a statement saying Cruz deserves to keep his belt and crown until someone takes it from him, and they'll have a chance in about a years time… it can wait.

  • jmedno5891

    If I was barao I wouldn't want the title that this way… just like condit didn't consider himself champ until he beat gsp, which he didn't. Barao should just continue defending the interim belt until cruz returns.

  • SpellCheckKongo

    I've always hated the term "Interim Champion", because I think it's a ludicrous concept. To me it really only means you're the number one contender, at best. Label it however you wish, but the fact of the matter is that the interim champion reverts to challenger status once the REAL CHAMPION comes back. So why bother calling the number 1 contender a champion?

    Champions who are unable to (or choose not to) defend their titles after a reasonable time period should forfeit their status (but with an option to come back for an immediate title shot–they deserve that at the very least). This mitigates any logjams and extended wait times for the up and coming contenders that deserve a shot at becoming the next champion.

    Just my two cents.

    • KeithFarrell

      I don't understand how people are saying Cruz vacating his title frees up the division… the match ups will be exactly the same whether Barao is interim or undisputed champ… just with different wording in the promos

  • griffin

    GSP part 2

  • ny2ut2id2nv

    This is terrible news for Cruz especially given his fighting style with all that crazy in and out footwork.

  • enjoylife321

    If they can use cadaver ligaments in surgery for ACL injuries, I wonder if they can use cadaver testicles to increase the testorone levels naturally of all these guys on TRT.

    Just trying to help promote the sport !

  • Pride4Ever

    lets hope he gets the same doctor as GSP

    • KeithFarrell

      Problem is he did a different operation than GSP did and is only now getting the same treatment as GSP… put him out for a lot longer then if he had just followed GSP in the first place