Dominick Cruz Will Make Return vs. Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2014

AP Images

Welcome back, Dominick Cruz.

The former UFC bantamweight champion Cruz has been out of action since the fall of 2011, but he will make his return to the Octagon nearly three years later at UFC 178.

Cruz teased his fight earlier in the day prior to the revelation of who his opponent would be.

Cruz confirmed his return bout to ESPN on Tuesday evening, and he will go opposite No. 5-ranked Takeya Mizugaki.

Mizugaki has been on a roll in recent fights. The former WEC title contender has reeled off five straight wins inside the Octagon, and a win over Cruz would put him in line for a title shot. All five of his recent wins have gone to the scorecards.

The American is 19-1 in his career. The lone loss on his resume was to Urijah Faber in a WEC featherweight title tilt. Cruz would then drop to 135 pounds and become the No. 1-ranked fighter in the division until injuries sidelined his career.

He injured his knee training for a title defense against Urijah Faber and has had two surgeries on the knee since. Now he is recovered and cleared to fight.

Cruz has remained active in the official UFC rankings. He currently sits as the No. 12-ranked contender.

This was the fight that Cruz wanted for his return bout. He made mention of the Mizugaki fight on the UFC Tonight broadcast on Fox Sports 1 in recent weeks, and the matchmakers heard him loud and clear. Huge title implications will come along with this prime-time fight.

UFC 178 is scheduled for September 27 in Las Vegas. In the main event, Jon Jones defends the UFC light heavyweight belt against Alexander Gustafsson for the second time.