The former bantamweight champion could be returning to the cage that this summer for the first time in nearly three years. It was reported that this week on UFC Tonight that Dominick Cruz, the former UFC bantamweight champion, is targeting a return to the Octagon at UFC 177, which can be set to take place August 30 in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to Cruz’ head trainer at Alliance MMA at San Diego, Eric Del Fierro, their camp wants Cruz to take on top contender Takeya Mizugaki in his comeback match. With a triumph over Mizugaki, Cruz would place himself 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 strategic affair. Overall Cruz defended the UFC/WEC bantamweight title four times between 2010 and 2011 before suffering a major knee injury in 2012 that has kept him out of the cage for more than two decades now. However, it should be noted that he has among the greatest winning streaks of fighter in the division with 10-straight victories over the likes of Urijah Faber, Brian Bowles, Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgensen, Ian McCall, and the above Johnson. Despite lost so long, the UFC allow him hold onto his belt until this past year, when enough was enough and also the promotion stripped the name from him and gave it into interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao. UFC president Dana White said that Cruz would garner an immediate title shot on his return to the cage, but with TJ Dillashaw bothering Barao and taking the title this past May at UFC 173, it makes more sense for Cruz to combat someone else prior to getting another crack at the belt. A struggle between Cruz and Mizugaki would be outstanding, and it would help ascertain where precisely”The Dominator” fits in the division at the present time. At one point he had been considered one of the best five pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but after missing so much time with injury and having so much cage rust, so it makes sense for him to fight somebody first before getting his title shot, and the matchup between Mizugaki leaves a great deal of sense. If this struggle goes does, Cruz would put in the struggle as a slight favorite but with this much time off and with Mizugaki on such a wonderful series right now, there’s no way it’s a gimme fight by any means and there might certainly be an upset brewing if Cruz is not anywhere close to what he was used to look like.
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