Former two-time UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz has pumped the breaks on speculation linking him to a potential matchup with the surging striker, Sean O’Malley at UFC 269 on December 1l. — claiming that he will be fighting ahead of himself in the official rankings for his next Octagon walk.

Snapping a two-fight skid in his last Octagon walk, Cruz, who has predominantly served as an analyst and color commentator for the organization following his championship loss to Cody Garbrandt in December 2016 — turned back the clock with an impressive split decision triumph over Casey Kenney at UFC 259 in March.

For Montana native, O’Malley, the bantamweight striker turned in two highly impressive knockout wins this year following an August knockout loss to Marlon Vera last year — stopping Thomas Almeida at UFC 260 — before returning at UFC 264 in July, setting multiple striking records en route to a third round knockout win over promotional newcomer, Kris Moutinho.

In search of his third opponent of the year after rejecting a proposed matchup with former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar in November at UFC 268 — O’Malley attempted to enter the Petr Yan sweepstakes following the removal of Aljamain Sterling from a UFC 267 bantamweight title fight. However, the promotion has elected to link Yan with the #3 rated Aurora striker, Cory Sandhagen in an interim title bout on October 30. 

With Sandhagen drawing Yan on ‘Fight Island’ next month, O’Malley switched his attention to former two-time champion, Cruz, however, the San Diego veteran was quick to shut down that speculation.

I have a date with someone that is ranked up ahead of me, stud,” Dominick Cruz posted replying to O’Malley. “Same thing you’re looking for. So I get it. May the force be with you in figuring that one out for yourself.

Cruz, who is ranked at the #11 slot in the official bantamweight pile at the time of publication, however, fighters including the aforenoted, Yan, Sandhagen, Garbrandt, Edgar, as well as Rob Font, Jose Aldo, are all booked, while Marlon Moraes and Merab Dvalishvili competed just last weekend and former champion T.J. Dillashaw is still sidelined following knee surgery.

Ranked #9 ahead of Cruz, American Top Team trainee, Pedro Munhoz is the only other contender above Cruz who is either unbooked, without injury, or hasn’t competed recently, with his last outing coming against the aforenoted, Aldo at UFC 265 in August. Munhoz has been linked with a potential drop to the flyweight limit off the back of his unanimous decision defeat to his compatriot, which has yet to come to fruition.