The former bantamweight champion could be returning to the cage this summer for the first time in nearly three decades. It was reported that this week on UFC Tonight that Dominick Cruz, the former UFC bantamweight champion, is targeting a return to the Octagon at UFC 177, which is 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 needs Cruz to take on top competition Takeya Mizugaki in his comeback game. With a win over Mizugaki, Cruz would put himself really close to getting another crack at the belt at 135lbs. Cruz hasn’t 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 times between 2010 and 2011 before suffering a major knee injury in 2012 that has kept him out of the cage for over two years now. However, it should be noted that he has among the longest winning streaks of any fighter in the division with 10-straight successes over the likes of Urijah Faber, Brian Bowles, Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgensen, Ian McCall, and the aforementioned Johnson. Despite lost so much time, the UFC allow him hold onto his belt till last year, when enough was enough and also the advertising stripped the title from him and gave it into interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao. UFC president Dana White said that Cruz would garner a direct title shot upon his return to the cage, but with TJ Dillashaw bothering Barao and taking the name this past May at UFC 173, it makes more sense for Cruz to fight somebody else prior to getting another crack in the belt. A fight between Cruz and Mizugaki would be excellent, and it would help determine where precisely”The Dominator” fits in the division at the present moment. At one stage he had been considered one of the best five pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but after missing a long time with injury and with so much cage rust, it is logical for him to struggle somebody first before getting his title shot, and the matchup between Mizugaki leaves a whole lot of sense. Whether this struggle goes , Cruz would put in the fight as a slight favorite but with this much time and with Mizugaki on this a nice series at the moment, there is no way it’s a gimme fight by any means and there could certainly be an upset brewing if Cruz is not anywhere near what he was used to seem like.
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