Source: MMA Weekly
Bad news today, Dominick Cruz had to pull out of his rubber fight with Urijah Faber at UFC 148 with a knee injury. Dana White revealed that Cruz “blew his ACL”. The injury occurred during this season of The Ultimate Fighter Live while Cruz was training his team and training for his fight with Faber this summer. White did not reveal how long Cruz will be out or if it will require surgery but with everything we know about ACL injuries, Cruz should be out for at least the rest of the year. I am afraid the injury could be worse and this could be another GSP incident that backs up the bantamweight division the way it did the welterweight division. But hopefully Cruz will get surgery asap and be on the mend for the rest of the year. Although it might be difficult considering that he and Faber are currently committed to coaching the current season of TUF. So if Cruz were to have surgery, who would fill in for him as coach? These are tough questions, no pun intended, but news should come in the next few days.
The news is truly disappointing since we are going to be robbed of an amazing trilogy fight this summer between Cruz and Faber. I think the way both of them are fighting, it would have been an epic fight. But I think the UFC could salvage this fight by setting Faber up with Renan Barao. Barao was scheduled to fight Ivan Menjivar on the same card anyway so he would be ready to go against Faber. Many argued that Barao was the next fighter in waiting after Faber, so setting up a fight between the two would keep things going while Cruz recovers from his injury. The only issue would be whether Faber is willing to take a fight in the mean time and risk losing his title shot. Considering that Faber is on such a tear lately, taking time off might hurt his momentum, just ask Rashad Evans. Plus I don’t think Faber would turn down the fight if he was compensated adequately–money talks. But the scary thing is I think Barao could be good enough to beat both Faber and Cruz. Rushing Barao in against Faber right now may be a little premature as he might not be ready yet but if he were to beat Faber, Cruz would go down as well. Barao is the future of the division, its just a matter of when he is given the opportunity. With the Cruz injury, it may be sooner rather than later.
Update 5/8/2012: Dana White has confirmed that Urijah Faber will remain on the UFC 148 card and will be fighting for an interim title. White said that typical ACL injuries keep guys out for 9 months which is the case with GSP, so an interim title was justified. The only issue now is who gets to fight Faber for the interim title? Renan Barao, Michael McDonald, and Ivan Menjivar top the short list of names currently at the top of the division.
Update 5/16/2012: Dana White announced he is going to reveal Urijah Faber’s opponent for the UFC interim bantamweight title this Friday on TUF Live. No doubt, the news is sure to boost TUF’s viewers since the show has been struggling all season.
Update 5/18/2012: As expected, Renan Barao will be facing Urijah Faber at UFC 148 for the UFC interim bantamweight title. Dana White made the announcement on TUF Live tonight. There is no word as of yet if Barao’s opponent Ivan Menjivar will remain on the card.
Update 6/3/2012: Dominick Cruz said he will undergo knee surgery on Wednesday now that his duties as a coach are over. Cruz is expected to return some time next year but hopes to return sooner. When asked who he thought would win between Faber and Barao, Cruz said he thinks Faber will but only because he hopes to finish out his trilogy with Faber.
Update 6/20/2012: The Dominator revealed that he recently removed his stitches after having successful surgery several days ago. Cruz is off crutches and walking around regularly. Doctors said with rehab and physical therapy, Cruz could be out as long as 18 months although Cruz hoping for a quicker return.
Update 12/4/2012: Dominick Cruz suffered a set back in his recovery when his body rejected the ACL he received from a cadaver. Cruz underwent another surgery this past week and will likely be out for another year. Its a sad set back for Cruz. This is probably the reason why Dana White wanted Renan Barao to fight Michael McDonald next. This fight will likely happen early in 2013.