Dominick Cruz suffers another ACL injury, timeline for return unknown

Dominick Cruz is out for an undetermined amount of time 

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Following a triumphant comeback to the UFC in September, former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is headed back to the injury list after suffering another knee injury.

Cruz stated via Facebook on Monday that his right knee — the opposite knee that already had double ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery — now has an ACL injury as well.

The former champion sat out for almost three years dealing with his initial injury when he had complete reconstructive surgery on his knee before the repairs failed and he had to undergo the same exact operation a second time.  He finally returned in September and made short work of top 10 ranked fighter Takeaya Mizugaki by TKO, but now his timeline to return is unknown.

"It is with great sadness to report I have experienced another ACL injury," Cruz wrote.  "This time it’s in the right knee, opposite side of my first and second ACL injuries. Leading up to my last fight in September and after, I have practiced a very careful and methodical training and diet regime to keep my body healthy.

It is with great sadness to report I have experienced another ACL injury. This time it’s in the right knee, opposite side of my first and second ACL injuries

— Dominick Cruz

"Unfortunately, this is beyond my understanding and control. I don’t have a timetable for my return but trust and know I will pour my heart and soul into returning to the Octagon."

With the win in September, Cruz was set to face bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw in early 2015 to try and reclaim the belt he never lost in the first place. Cruz was stripped of the title while he was out due to injury, but following a successful comeback he was put in a position to fight for the belt again next year.

Now with this latest injury there’s no telling how long he will be out of action, but obviously it appears he will forgo his title shot for now.

"I want to thank the UFC, my fans and my sponsors ahead of time for your support and prayers. I appreciate you more than you could understand," Cruz stated.  "I don’t have any other facts to share right now. I, along with my camp, respectfully request privacy at this difficult time."

It’s a heartbreaking moment for Cruz, who was one of the biggest stories of the year after coming back and looking better than ever in his lone bout this year. Cruz was just in Brazil over the weekend where he did a question and answer session with fans so it’s unclear when the injury actually occurred but it seems he will be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

With Cruz out of action, it may open the door for former bantamweight champion Renan Barao to get his long awaited rematch with Dillashaw instead.  Barao defeated Mitch Gagnon over the weekend at UFC Fight Night in Brazil, but he was expected to sit behind Cruz in the pecking order for a title shot.