It’s been a long while since we last saw Dominick Cruz defend his UFC bantamweight title. How long, you ask? Long enough for Renan Barao to put his interim bantamweight crown on the line for a second time when he faces Eddie Wineland in the main event of UFC 161.
Cruz went down with a torn ACL during filming of The Ultimate Fighter: Live and was forced to undergo surgery. Unfortunately for Cruz, the cadaver ligament that was used during the repair was rejected by his body, necessitating a second surgery.
While Cruz was on the mend from his first surgery, the UFC moved forward and lined up Barao to face former WEC champion Urijah Faber for the interim title. Barao defeated Faber via unanimous decision in that bout and moved on to defend the title, stopping Michael McDonald by submission in February of this year.
With Cruz’s return still months away, the UFC has set Barao up with Wineland for a second attempted title defense. Wineland earned his shot at Barao after defeating Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett in his last two bouts.
UFC 161 will take place at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, and you can bet that Cruz will be one the most interested observers of the Barao versus Wineland fight.
Cruz recently sat down with Rick J. Lee and broke down the fight. See what the champ has to say about the upcoming scrap that just may decide who he faces when he does return to the Octagon.