The former bantamweight champion could be returning to the cage this summer for the first time in nearly three decades. It was reported this week on UFC Tonight that Dominick Cruz, the former UFC bantamweight champion, is targeting a return to the Octagon at UFC 177, which is set to take place August 30 in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to Cruz’ head coach at Alliance MMA at San Diego, Eric Del Fierro, their camp needs Cruz to take on top competition Takeya Mizugaki in his comeback game. With a win over Mizugaki, Cruz would place himself really close to getting another crack. Cruz hasn’t fought since October 2011, when he conquered present UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson via five-round unanimous decision in a tactical affair. Overall Cruz defended the UFC/WEC bantamweight title four occasions between 2010 and 2011 before suffering a major knee injury in 2012 that has kept him out of the cage for more than two years now. But it should be noted that he has among the longest winning streaks of fighter in the branch with 10-straight successes over the likes of Urijah Faber, Brian Bowles, Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgensen, Ian McCall, and the aforementioned Johnson. Despite missing so much time, the UFC allow him hold onto his belt until this past year, when enough was enough and the promotion stripped off the name from him and gave it into interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao. UFC president Dana White explained that Cruz would exude an immediate name shot on his return to the cage, but with TJ Dillashaw upsetting Barao and taking the name this past May at UFC 173, it makes more sense for Cruz to fight someone else prior to getting another crack at the belt. A fight between Cruz and Mizugaki are outstanding, and it would help ascertain where exactly»The Dominator» matches in the division at the present moment. At one stage he had been considered one of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but after missing a long time with injury and having so much cage rust, it makes sense for him to fight somebody first before getting his title shot, and the matchup involving Mizugaki makes a great deal of sense. Whether this struggle goes , Cruz would put in the struggle as a slight favorite but with this much time and also with Mizugaki on such a nice series at the moment, there’s no way it’s a gimme struggle by any means and there might certainly be an upset brewing if Cruz is not anywhere near what he used to look like.
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