It appears that UFC bantamweight champion Dominick
Cruz is on the clock.
UFC President Dana White revealed Tuesday during a UFC
165 media conference call that Cruz -- who has not competed
since October 2011 due to injury -- is expected to return at the
beginning of 2014. If the champ does not return by then, however,
White said the organization will make a decision on the status of
the bantamweight title.
“I certainly hope this is the last time we’re doing the interim
title,” White said of UFC 165’s Renan
Wineland co-main event. “We’re expecting his return at the
beginning of the year, and if he can’t return at the beginning of
the year, then we’re going to have to make a decision.”
Cruz was crowned the UFC’s 135-pound titleholder after successfully
defending his World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight title against
Jorgensen at the WEC’s final show in 2010. “The Dominator” went
on to defend his belt against Urijah Faber
Johnson before suffering a torn ACL last summer. Though the
champion underwent surgery to repair the knee injury, his body
rejected the cadaver ligament used in the procedure and he was
again forced back onto the operating table this past December.
Surging Brazilian Barao captured the interim bantamweight
championship after Cruz was forced to withdraw from his rubber
match with Faber. Barao then defended his belt against red-hot
McDonald and is currently slated to put the title on the line
against former WEC ruler Wineland later this month.