UFC bantamweight champion Dominick CruzIt has been nearly two years since UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz last fought, and everyone wants to know when he will be back in action.

Unfortunately, Cruz has the same question as everyone else, as he has yet to be cleared by doctors to even begin full-on training.

Cruz, following a coaching stint opposite Urijah Faber on The Ultimate Fighter Live, was supposed to have defended his belt against his longtime rival last summer, but had to pull out of the fight due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during training.

He had surgery in May of 2012, repairing the knee with the ligament from a cadaver, which theoretically should have sped up his rehabilitation time.

Cruz’s body, however, rejected the foreign tissue, so he had to go back under the knife in late 2012 for a second ACL surgery. He’s been steadily working his way back, but doctor’s have kept him on the slow track to be sure he doesn’t suffer anymore setbacks.

If all goes as planned, Cruz could be back in the cage in early 2014.

“I’m looking to be back early next year,” the champ said in an interview with InsideMMA. “I can’t give an exact date because, the truth is, I haven’t even been cleared by a doctor.

“First three, four, five months (of 2014). I hate to say that because it’s so much time, but I have to be real with myself. I’ve already had double-ACL surgery. This isn’t a game.”

Renan Barão won the interim title during Cruz’s absence. And having been sidelined for so long, nearly everyone’s patience has been tested, Cruz’s as much as anyone’s. There has been an abundance of chatter about stripping Cruz of the belt.

That hasn’t happened, and it’s not going to happen, as long as Cruz continues on his current path to recovery.

“Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) sit and tell me, ‘No, we’re not taking anything from you.’ They’ve had my back in this situation,” said Cruz.

“They’ve been very, very supportive, and I’m very appreciative to the UFC for the rest of my life for the way they’ve taken care of me. They could have handled this several different ways. They’ve been very supportive.”

When Cruz returns, he wants to fight the interim champion and immediately unify the belts. It’s a fight that makes sense, and a fight that he, as champion, has every right to expect.

Barão has his next bout already lined up against Eddie Wineland at UFC 165 on Sept. 21 in Toronto, but it’s clear that Cruz is pulling for him. He wants Barão to be the man he first faces when he gets back in the Octagon.

“Renan Barão has beaten a lot of the same guys (as I have). This is a fight that I can come back and fight Renan,” Cruz declared. “That’s who I want right off the bat. If nothing else, I deserve to come back and get that title shot. It’s something that I think I’ve earned the right to.

“The truth is, I deserve that fight, and I’m gonna get it,” he continued. “I’m fighting time, and when I get back, I’ll be fighting Barão.”

Be sure to Like MMAWeekly.com on Facebook and Follow @MMAWeeklycom on Twitter.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Photo gallery: Richard Walsh's strong early start too much for Steven Kennedy at UFC 193

  • 12 days ago

MELBOURNE, Australia – Richard Walsh had a good start, then had to survive a rough patch in order to beat Steven Kennedy on Saturday. Check out our exclusive photo gallery from their fight at UFC 193 read news >>

UFC 193 results: Strong early, Daniel Kelly takes decision from Steve Montgomery

  • 12 days ago

MELBOURNE, Australia – Fighting a four-time Olympian in judo, Steve Montgomery never could get things fully started against Daniel Kelly, and it cost him.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Photo gallery: James Moontasri spinning kick ends Zafir's night early at UFC 193

  • 12 days ago

MELBOURNE, Australia – With a gorgeous pair of spinning strikes, James Moontasri made Anton Zafir’s UFC debut one he’d like to forget. Check out our exclusive photo gallery from the fight at UFC 193 read news >>

Fitch vs. Shields, Branch vs. Starks title fights slated for WSOF 29 in April

  • 12 days ago

WSOF officials are getting an early start on their 2016 fight schedule, and one event includes a championship doubleheader.Filed under: News, Videos, WSOF read news >>

Rousey vs. Holm: Latest UFC 193 Odds, Predictions and Pre-Fight Twitter Hype

  • 13 days ago

UFC is giving fight fans an early holiday treat with Ronda Rousey's return to the Octagon, as the undefeated bantamweight champion puts her title on the line against undefeated challenger Holly Holm read news >>

UFC Fight Night 77 results: Corey Anderson dominates Fabio Maldonado for easy decision

  • 19 days ago

SAO PAULO – Corey Anderson put the pressure on Fabio Maldonado early and never took it off for the duration of their three-round bout. The result was a one-sided victory for Anderson.Filed under: New read news >>

UFC Fight Night 77 results: Johnny Case runs streak to 12, outpoints Yan Cabral

  • 19 days ago

SAO PAULO – Johnny Case survived an early scare on the mat against a submission-minded Yan Cabral and rallied late in a close, action-packed fight. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC Fight Night 77 results: Chas Skelly stuns Sao Paulo crowd, chokes out Kevin Souza

  • 19 days ago

SAO PAULO – Early in second round, Chas Skelly looked tired, slow, and still suffering from the effects of a near knockout in the previous round, which left him looking like a man headed for trouble read news >>

Fedor Returns on Special Spike TV Early Morning Broadcast of New Year’s Eve Fight Card

  • 19 days ago

Spike TV is helping MMA fans ring out 2015 with a special late morning broadcast of the highly anticipated return of Fedor Emeliananko. read news >>

UFC 195: By The Numbers

  • 27 days ago

Take an early look at UFC 195 in this edition of By The Numbers. read news >>