The former bantamweight champion might be returning to the cage this summer for the first time in almost three years. It was reported this week on UFC Tonight the Dominick Cruz, the former UFC bantamweight champion, is targeting a return to the Octagon at UFC 177, that is set to take place August 30 at Las Vegas, Nevada. According to Cruz’ head coach at Alliance MMA at San Diego, Eric Del Fierro, their camp needs Cruz to shoot on top competition Takeya Mizugaki in his comeback game. With a triumph over Mizugaki, Cruz would put himself near getting another crack at the belt in 135lbs. Cruz hasn’t fought since October 2011, when he defeated current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson through five-round unanimous decision in a tactical affair. Overall Cruz defended the UFC/WEC bantamweight title four times 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. But it should be noted that he has one of the longest winning streaks of 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 aforementioned Johnson. Despite lost so long, the UFC let him hold onto his belt until this past year, when enough was enough and the promotion stripped off the title from him and gave it to interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao. UFC president Dana White explained that Cruz would garner an immediate title shot upon his return to the cage, but with TJ Dillashaw upsetting Barao and carrying the title this past May at UFC 173, it makes more sense for Cruz to fight someone else prior to getting another crack in the belt. A struggle between Cruz and Mizugaki would be outstanding, and it might help ascertain where precisely”The Dominator” matches in the branch at the current time. At one point he was considered one of the best five pound-for-pound fighters on earth, but after missing a long time with injury and having so much cage rust, it makes sense for him to fight somebody first before getting his title shot, and the matchup involving Mizugaki leaves a whole lot of sense. If this struggle goes does, Cruz would put in the fight as a slight favorite but with this much time and with Mizugaki on this a nice series right now, there’s no way it’s a gimme fight by any means and there might surely be an upset brewing if Cruz is not anywhere close to what he used to look like.
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