Top 5 Options for UFC Return of Dominick Cruz

Top 5 Options for UFC Return of Dominick Cruz

Former UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz at post-fight press conference
Getty Images

Dominick Cruz has undoubtedly had some of the worst injury luck of any UFC champion in history. He hasn’t competed inside the Octagon since 2011 and was forced to give up his title after withdrawing from a unification clash against Renan Barao at UFC 169. “The Dominator” is hoping to return this summer. Here are, in my opinion, the top-five options that should be considered for his comeback fight.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.

5. Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki/Francisco Rivera winner

Dominick Cruz after UFC 132 win over Urijah Faber
Getty Images

5. Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki/Francisco Rivera winner

Dominick Cruz after UFC 132 win over Urijah Faber
Getty Images

If Cruz is looking to shake off some Octagon rust, this would be a solid return fight. The No. 6 ranked Mizugaki has a reputation for being involved in exciting bouts and gets a stern test later this month at UFC 173 against the hard-hitting Rivera. If “Cisco” ends Mizugaki’s winning ways on May 24, his formidable power would prove a good challenge to the former champion’s defensive skills and athleticism.

4. Dominick Cruz vs. Eddie Wineland

Dominick Cruz battles Scott Jorgensen at WEC 53
Getty Images

4. Dominick Cruz vs. Eddie Wineland

Dominick Cruz battles Scott Jorgensen at WEC 53
Getty Images

Cruz is known for his punching accuracy, angles and lateral movement. A true test on how his ACL issues have affected his mobility would be a matchup against the dangerous Wineland. The former title challenger is one of the best boxers in the 135-pound division and is also tremendously tough. First, the No. 4 ranked Wineland would have to get by Johnny Eduardo this month at UFC Fight Night 40.

3. Dominick Cruz vs. Raphael Assuncao

Dominick Cruz after successful UFC title defense against Demetrious Johnson
Getty Images

3. Dominick Cruz vs. Raphael Assuncao

Dominick Cruz after successful UFC title defense against Demetrious Johnson
Getty Images

The former champion Cruz would get quite a test against the talented Brazilian, who is riding an impressive six-fight win streak. It would be a great way for Cruz to prepare for a title shot if he can defeat the No. 2 ranked contender. It would also be the high-profile fight that Assuncao needs to get a push as a future title challenger. In fact, a matchup between these two elite 135-pound competitors would be a legitimate title eliminator.

2. Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber 3

Dominick Cruz battles Urijah Faber in UFC action
Getty Images

2. Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber 3

Dominick Cruz battles Urijah Faber in UFC action
Getty Images

The timing seems perfect for these two bitter rivals to have their trilogy bout. The pair split their first two meetings with Faber securing a submission victory back in their WEC days. It’s the lone blemish on Cruz’s record. Cruz got his revenge at UFC 132 against “The California Kid” by retaining his 135-pound title via unanimous decision. A matchup between these two would be a solid headliner for any UFC event.

1. Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barao/T.J. Dillashaw winner

Dominick Cruz lands punch on Demetrious Johnson during UFC bantamweight title bout
Getty Images

1. Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barao/T.J. Dillashaw winner

Dominick Cruz lands punch on Demetrious Johnson during UFC bantamweigt title bout
Getty Images

UFC President Dana White has stated Cruz would get an immediate title shot if he wanted it. That’ll depend on whether Cruz is ready to enter enter deep waters right away after a lengthy absence. If Cruz’s confidence level is to the point where he wants that shot, then the winner of the UFC 173 title clash between Barao and Dillashaw is his best option. It would be a dangerous proposition, but a great way for Cruz to be re-introduced to fans.


Around the Web