MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR FRIDAY: CRUZ RUMORED TO RETURN AT UFC 177
The former bantamweight champion might be returning to the cage that this summer for the first time in nearly three years. It was reported this week on UFC Tonight that Dominick Cruz, the former UFC bantamweight champion, is targeting a return to the Octagon at UFC 177, which can be set to take place August 30 at Las Vegas, Nevada. According to Cruz’ head trainer at Alliance MMA at San Diego, Eric Del Fierro, their camp wants Cruz to take on top contender Takeya Mizugaki in his comeback match. With a triumph over Mizugaki, Cruz would put himself very near getting another crack in the belt at 135lbs. Cruz has not fought since October 2011, when he conquered present UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson via five-round unanimous decision in a strategic event. Overall Cruz defended the UFC/WEC bantamweight title four occasions between 2010 and 2011 before suffering a major knee injury in 2012 which has kept him out of the cage for over two years now. However, it ought to be noted that he has among the longest winning streaks of any fighter in the branch with 10-straight successes over the likes of Urijah Faber, Brian Bowles, Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgensen, Ian McCall, as well as the above Johnson. Despite lost so much time, the UFC let him hold on his belt until last year, when enough was enough and also the advertising stripped off the title from him and gave it to interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao. UFC president Dana White said that Cruz would exude an immediate title shot upon his return to the cage, but with TJ Dillashaw upsetting Barao and carrying the title this past May in UFC 173, it makes more sense for Cruz to fight somebody else prior to getting another crack at the belt. A fight between Cruz and Mizugaki would be outstanding, and it might help ascertain where exactly”The Dominator” fits in the division at the current moment. At one stage he was considered one of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but after missing a long time with harm and having so much cage rust, so it is logical for him to struggle someone first before getting his title shot, and the matchup involving Mizugaki leaves a great deal of sense. Whether this struggle goes does, Cruz would enter the fight as a slight favorite but with so much time off and with Mizugaki on this a nice streak at the moment, there is no way it’s a gimme fight by any means and there could surely be an upset brewing if Cruz isn’t anywhere close to what he was used to look like.
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