Cruz injured, stripped of title, Faber in against Barao at UFC 169
A groin injury has forced Dominick Cruz back to the sidelines and the UFC has decided to strip him of the bantamweight title after more than two years absent from the division. In his place Urijah Faber will step up to take on Renan Barao at UFC 169.
Dominick Cruz has pulled out of UFC 169 due to injury and been stripped off his title.
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By Damon Martin
Dominick Cruz has suffered a groin tear in his preparation for UFC 169 and his main event bout against Renan Barao and as a result of the injury and subsequent time off, he has been stripped of the UFC bantamweight title.
Cruz has been out since October 2011 after suffering a major knee injury that required reconstructive surgery on his ACL. Unfortunately, Cruz had a setback that put him back on the surgeon's table just months later for another compete ACL repair.
The result was Cruz being out for over two years and because of this latest detour in his career, the UFC has decided to strip him of the title and move forward with Renan Barao as the new undisputed bantamweight champion.
"Long time bantamweight (champion) Dominick Cruz, who hasn't fought since October 2011 because of an ACL tear, and then he hurt it again and now he's getting ready for the big fight against interim champion Renan Barao," UFC president Dana White explained when speaking to ESPN's Sportcenter on Monday.
Dominick Cruz has been replaced by nemesis, Urijah Faber, at UFC 169.
Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC / Zuffa LLC
"He got a grade 2 or 3 groin tear, so he's out of the fight again. People have been waiting for this to happen so what we're going to do is this guy's been out over two years so Renan Barao will become the bantamweight champion and Urijah Faber, one of the biggest stars in the UFC, he fought four times in 2013, four impressive straight wins and on everybody's list this year for 'Fighter of the Year' he's going to step in on just three weeks notice and take on Renan Barao."
Faber was on a tear in 2013 beating all four opponents, finishing three of them capped off by his submission over Michael McDonald at FOX UFC in Sacramento in early December. It's no secret that Faber lost to Barao at UFC 149 in 2012, but to his credit the former WEC champion suffered a broken rib early in the fight that hampered him for the entire 25-minute bout.
Now Faber will have a chance to right that wrong and bring the first ever UFC title back to his camp at Team Alpha Male.
Faber and Barao will headline the upcoming UFC 169 card taking place Feb 1 from Newark, New Jersey with featherweight champion Jose Aldo and his opponent Ricardo Lamas serving as co-main event for the evening.
As for Cruz, the decision by the UFC to strip him of the title is just the latest in a long line of back steps in what was poised to become a stellar career in the Octagon. Cruz will certainly return but his timeline for recovery is still unknown.
Groin tears can require several weeks of rest and recovery as witnessed in 2013 by Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler when he had a grade 2 strain earlier in the season and sat out only a few games. Meanwhile, a more severe groin injury such as the one suffered by Detroit Tigers' player Miguel Cabrera required surgery that put him on the shelf for several months.