Faber and Cruz were set to have their rubber match after splitting their first two meetings 1-1, but the deciding bout between the current coaches on "The Ultimate Fighter" will have to wait.
Faber posted a video (the one shown here) on his Twitter page a few hours after Cruz's injury was announced and actually showed a lot of sympathy for his arch nemesis (thanks to MMA Mania for the transcription):
"I'm sure everyone has heard the terrible news that Dominick Cruz tore his ACL. There's a lot of rumors rolling around about the whole situation, possibly that Ronda Rousey is the one who made it happen. It sucks for everybody, especially myself and Dominick. I wish him a speedy recovery -- you don't wish that on anybody. I know he wanted to scrap. Now, I'm just waiting to hear what happens.:
Not surprisingly, "The California Kid" is still expecting a title shot in July, even if it has to be for an interim belt:
"I'm thinking an interim title fight -- [Dominick] has been out almost 1.5 years now -- once this surgery goes through it's going to be another nine months. I'm hoping for a top contender: Renan Barao, in my opinion is next up with Michael McDonald after that and Ivan Menjivar after that. I'm just waiting to see -- I know as much as you guys do, but I'm ready to scrap on July 7. And, as far as I'm concerned, that's when it's going down."
Given the severity of Cruz's injury–one that typically requires eight to nine months to recover from–an interim title fight makes a lot of sense.
Faber's ranking of his prospective three opponents is tough to argue with as well.
Barao has won an incredible 18 fights in a row and boasts an unheard of record of 28-1(1). The Brazilian is also a perfect 3-0 since making his Octagon debut at UFC 130 just over a year ago.
McDonald, who is a mere 21-years-old, proved he is a top contender at 135 pounds by knocking out long-time WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres at UFC 145.
"Mayday" has a 15-1 record with 13 finishes and has avenged his only loss to Cole Escovedo.
Meanwhile, Menjivar is the only fighter out of the three that has faced Faber before. However, he was disqualified for illegally kicking Faber when he was a downed opponent.
Still, that bout was in Jan. 2006 and he does own a respectable record of 24-8. His signature win came at APEX: Undisputed in Sept. 2005 when he submitted Joe Lauzon with a calf slicer.
Also worth noting is that Barao was scheduled to have an unofficial number one contender bout with Menjivar on the same July 7 card, so odds are that bout is going to be re-arranged as well.
Cruz joins fellow UFC title holder, welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, on the shelf with an ACL tear.
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