Dominick Cruz, through no real fault of his own, is no longer the UFC bantamweight champion. He is not the “champion emeritus” and will more than likely have to fight several times before getting a title shot when his injury heals. With all that said, Cruz will be a title contender once his injury heals.
Cruz’s resume doesn’t lie and contains some of the best bantamweights in the world. Some of his more notable victories include wins over Joseph Benavidez, Demetrious Johnson and Urijah Faber, three of the best fighters in the world. Looking at the majority of Cruz’s opponents, most of them have continued dominating the opposition, despite losing to Cruz.
Johnson has steamrolled his way over every flyweight he has come across. Benavidez continues making anyone not nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” look like amateurs, and Faber continues beating everyone who isn’t a champion. That proves that Cruz doesn’t just beat any fighter, he beats the best.
Cruz is a great competitor, even though he has been out of action for the past two years. A fight against Renan Barao would have went a long way in determining just how close to normal the fighter really is. Long layoffs are never good for fighters, but that doesn’t mean he can’t return to normal form if given the time needed.
Cruz should not be thrown to the dogs as soon as he recovers. He shouldn’t be fighting the likes of Barao, Faber or even Michael McDonald. Warm up fights against the likes of Eddie Wineland and Raphael Assuncao would be a step in the right direction. After that, they can then feed Cruz the championship competition. That would be the best route for Cruz to return back to his normal self.