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Tag: Dominick Cruz

UFC to Set Time Limit on How Long Injured Champs *Cough*DominickCruz*Cough* Can Be Inactive Before Being Stripped of Titles


(“Wheeeeeeee!” / Photo via @TheDomin8r)

UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has had horrible luck over the past two years. He’s torn the ACL in his knee twice, endured multiple surgeries, and has not fought a single time. Yet, he’s remained the official champion of the division while interim titlist Renan Barao has defended his belt twice.

Cruz hopes to be back early in 2014 and head straight into a unification bout against Barao. If he doesn’t, however, he may finally find himself stripped of his title. And according to UFC president Dana White, the organization will now make plans to set a time limit for how long champs can stay champs while sidelined.

“We have thought about it, and we will do it,” White told members of the media Monday. “We’re probably going to do that soon.”

It is about time the UFC did this. We don’t have a negative word to say about Cruz who has earned everything he’s ever gotten and who we feel genuinely bad for given all his bad luck, but it looks plain silly for Barao to be only an interim champion at this point. White seems to agree with those conflicted feelings.

“It’s a combination of me feeling really bad for him, and him being such a good person. … Do I think we let it play out too long? Maybe. But if I look at who the champion is, then I say no. I feel bad for the kid,” White said.

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Renan Barao’s Interim Title Defense at UFC 165 Will (Hopefully) Be His Last


(Barao’s success in MMA has caught the attention of Hollywood. He’ll be appearing in the next ‘Fast & Furious’ movie, playing the part of a dead raccoon lying by the side of the road. / Photo via Getty)

Already the longest-reigning interim champion in UFC history in terms of time holding the belt, bantamweight phenom Renan Barao could become the first UFC fighter to defend an interim belt twice when he takes on Eddie Wineland later this month at UFC 165. But being an interim champ isn’t exactly something that Barao takes pride in.

No disrespect to [Dominick Cruz], but from the moment I won this belt, and I have defended it once, I considered myself the champion,” Barao said yesterday during a UFC 165 conference call.

We can see how Barao might be confused, considering that he does in fact own a championship belt, and the real champ is nowhere in sight. Cruz, of course, has been sidelined for nearly two years due to a blown ACL and resulting complications. And although the UFC has been patient with “The Dominator”‘s long absence, the promotion may finally be setting an ultimatum on his return. As UFC president Dana White said during the conference call:

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Dominick Cruz Eyes Early 2014 Return, Has No Intention of Vacating Bantamweight Title


(…and until then, we’ll just have to settle for awkward fist-pose photos. / Props: @RenanBaraoUFC)

UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz was a dominant one before he became an absent one. It has been nearly two years since Cruz has fought, thanks to two consecutive ACL tears in his knee, but the injured champ hopes to return early next year.

“I’m looking to be back the beginning of next year is what it’s looking like from what the doctors have told me, so that’s my goal. Unfortunately, the doctor hasn’t even released me, so I couldn’t even make a date if I wanted to,” Cruz recently told MMA Junkie.

“It’s like when you got knocked out and you get put on suspension. It’s the same type of deal with this injury. There’s a set time and stipulation with a knee injury that I’ve gone through, especially doubled. So I’m just listening to the doctor so I stay back and don’t just come back.”

So, the up-side is that Cruz, who probably knows his own body better than anyone, is optimistic at this point. The bad news is that when he returns isn’t completely up to him.

When he does return, however, Cruz says it will be in a title fight. He scoffed at the notion that he’d vacate his title and take a “warm-up” fight first. If someone wants his title, they’ll have to take it from him in the Octagon.

“First of all, it’s silly to think that a champion would ever willingly give away the belt that he’s worked for,” Cruz explained.

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Dominick Cruz Now the Only Person No Longer Concerned About Defending His Bantamweight Belt


(Cruz, seen here showing off the results of his latest trip to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Those ball pits can be VICIOUS.) 

For the past two years, the UFC’s bantamweight division has been an absolute ghost town, plagued by injury to the point that even its replacement champion hasn’t been able to come out unscathed. I can’t remember the last time I typed Dominick Cruz’s name into the CagePotato CMS, to be honest — as I do it now, a message asks me if I meant “Domino’s Crust” and that doesn’t even make any goddamn sense.

While there’s not much than anyone can do to speed up Cruz’s recovery time — the man is coming off double knee surgery (including a botched cadaver-ACL transplant), for Christ’s sake — there comes a time when a champion’s inability to defend his own belt should come at a cost. Paul Taylor was recently released by the UFC simply because he has been plagued by injury and incredibly bad luck since 2011. Not that he and Cruz are exactly comparable in terms of their standings in the promotion, but at what point should the UFC step in and force Cruz to hand over his baseball to the kids who can actually play with it? It’s a question that the champ himself cannot answer, but if you think he is even worried about it, think again:

I can’t worry about the belt. It’s really not my position to decide whether I keep it because I’ve been injured or whether Dana takes it or whether Barao has it. The belt is there. The bottom line is me getting healthy so I can go out there and do what I do best which is prove why I am where I am today.

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Interim UFC Champ Barao Pulls Out of UFC 161 Title Defense Against Eddie Wineland

Tatame by way of Bloody Elbow reports that June 15th’s UFC 161 has lost its main event. UFC interim 135 pound champion Renan Barao was set to face Eddie Wineland in the event’s headlining match but the Brazilian has reportedly been forced to pull out due to injury.

Barao is reported to have injured a foot. He became the interim champion by beating Urijah Faber after champion Dominick Cruz went on injured reserve because of multiple knee ligament injuries. Wineland is on a two-fight win streak and Barao recently defended the interim belt by choking out Michael McDonald and earning his 20th consecutive win.

As of yet, the extent of Barao’s injury is unknown and so then is how long he will be out of action. No word yet from the UFC, either, on a substitution main event for UFC 161.

You up for an interim-interim bantamweight champ, nation?

- Elias Cepeda

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Interview: Urijah Faber Breaks Down His Upcoming MMA Combine, MMADraft.com, Optical Panacea Posters, And Cruz vs. Barao


(An excerpt from Urijah Faber’s Optical Panacea poster. Click the image to see the full-size extended version.)

By Ben Goldstein

From the very beginning of his career, Urijah Faber understood that he could be so much more than just a guy throwing punches in a cage. The California Kid bought his own gym in 2006, and went on to build one of the most successful fight teams in the sport. He’s partnered up with apparel brands ranging from K-Swiss to Torque. He’s written a book. And he’s been the entrepreneurial driving force behind a number of forward-thinking enterprises, including MMADraft.com — a site he launched with Phil Davis that seeks to find better opportunities and wider attention for amateur fighters — and Optical Panacea, a new company that elevates MMA fighter posters into fine art.

With Faber awaiting his next fight-assignement from the UFC, we spent some time on the phone with him yesterday to discuss all of the projects that will keep him hustling this summer, from the first-ever MMA Combine that will take place at the next UFC Fan Expo on July 6th, to the public launch party for Optical Panacea that will be going down next Friday in Las Vegas. (Be there!) Enjoy, and be sure to follow Urijah on Twitter @UrijahFaber.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: It’s been a month since your submission win over Scott Jorgensen at the TUF 17 Finale. Has the UFC given you any word on when they want you to return, or offered you your next opponent?

URIJAH FABER: I haven’t heard anything. I’ve kind of been on vacation, but I’m looking forward to continuing training and doing big things.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Duane Ludwig has been getting a lot of attention lately for his work as the head coach at Team Alpha Male. Is there one thing he’s specifically told you or taught you that’s helped to improve your game?

URIJAH FABER: I think one thing in particular is that we’ve been doing a lot of drilling. As wrestlers, we’ve all drilled a lot with our wrestling techniques, and now we’re bringing that into the other avenues as well. Duane’s got some awesome drills, and he has a great system down — the Duane Bang Muay Thai system — that we’re all learning. I was definitely able to incorporate a little bit of that into my standup [in my last fight], and it’s only going to get better.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Tell me a little about the MMA Combine for amateur fighters that you and Phil Davis are hosting at the next UFC Fan Expo in July. How close will this be to something like the NFL Scouting Combine, and what are some of the testing criteria that will be specific to MMA?

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A Note to the MMA Media: Please Stop Asking Dominick Cruz When He’s Coming Back

Dominick Cruz UFC ring girls Kenda Perez Brittney Palmer MMA photos
(“Laid up” takes on a whole new meaning when you’re a UFC champion.) 

According to his website, Dominick Cruz is “a professional mixed martial artist and UFC champion.” However, according to his MMA record, Cruz has been anything but since October of 2011. The ironic thing? Cruz’s website has not been updated since his coaching gig on The Ultimate Fighter 15, wherein he suffered the ACL injury that has kept him out of action ever since.

But if you were hoping that Cruz would give us a timetable for his return following his second ACL injury last December, you better think again. And while you’re at it, you should just stop asking Cruz about the issue altogether if you happen to be a member of the MMA media (you know, those people who get fancy lanyards at UFC events), because he will wait until 2020 to return to action if he damn so pleases (via Sherdog radio):

I’m not gonna let media or anybody else push me on a date. ‘Give us a date. That’s all we want. We want a date, Dominick. Give us a date to look at!’ I can’t. I want a date. I don’t have one. I’m listening to my doctors because if I don’t do that, I get hurt again. The focus is ‘pull the reigns down’, pull the reigns on myself. Don’t let myself go in there too soon and just do the work I can with the UFC, with my sponsors, do everything I can on Fuel TV and say to the fans I will be back. I’m coming back. I’m working hard. No date yet but I’ll give it out when I have it. I promise. 

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CagePotato Databomb #6: Breaking Down the UFC Bantamweights by Striking Performance


(Click chart for full-size versionFor previous Databombs, click here.)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

It’s almost time for the interim bantamweight championship fight between Renan Barao and Michael McDonald. But first, let’s examine the whole UFC bantamweight division in several key striking metrics. As one of the youngest divisions with quite a few newcomers, there were several chart busters who have performed either really well in a certain metric, or in Mike Easton’s case, really poorly, so those outliers are noted. Usually those fighters will regress towards the mean, but they’re worth keeping an eye on. A full explanation of the chart and variables is included at the end of this post.

As a group, the 135’ers are the hardest to hit, as illustrated by their lowest power head striking accuracy of any UFC division. But they manage to maintain a high pace of action, with the second-highest significant strike attempts per minute average. (Flyweights have the highest.) So which fighters get the awards in this frenzied group?

The Winners

Sniper Award: Rangy southpaw Alex Caceres leads the division with 48% power head striking accuracy. Though he has yet to score a knockdown in the UFC, the Bruce Lee superfan has definitely put on entertaining fights including sharp striking, rapid pace, and some very retro body suits.

Energizer Bunny Award: Johnny Bedford has been outstriking his UFC opponents more than 2:1 on his way to two finishes. Bedford’s size has been an advantage for him in one of the smallest weight classes, and we’ll see if he can continue his streak.

Biggest Ball(s) Award: In addition to outworking his opponents, double award winner Johnny Bedford is 2-0 in the UFC with two knockout finishes. But an honorable mention also goes to knockout machine Michael “Mayday” McDonald, who has landed four knockdowns during his 5-0 streak with Zuffa. McDonald gets his biggest test yet against higher volume striker and interim champ Renan Barao, in an interesting contrast of power and finesse.

The Losers

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[INJURYCEPTION] Injured Champ Dominick Cruz Re-Injures Himself While Recovering From Injury, Now Out Most of 2013


(Dominick Cruz, seen here seconds after being made aware that Dominick Cruz had been injured yet again.) 

It just doesn’t end, you guys. It. Doesn’t. Fucking. End.

The insatiable injury curse of 2012 — seemingly fed up with claiming non-injured, active fighters — has somehow grown powerful enough to affect those who were already injured to begin with. NO, IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

And while the title may be a little misleading being that bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz didn’t truly re-injure himself, but rather failed to recuperate properly from the ACL injury that has kept him out of action since May, it looks like we won’t be seeing “The Dominator” dominating anything but a Domino’s delivery menu until late 2013 [WORDPLAY]. The newsbroke earlier today that the anterior cruciate ligament Cruz had replaced with that of a cadaver’s following his run on TUF 15 was rejected by his body, forcing the champ to undergo additional surgery in order repair/replace it.

“He’s pissed and disappointed,” remarked Cruz’s trainer Eric Del Fierro, echoing the sentiment of not only MMA fans around the world but that of MMA hack journalists such as myself.

I mean, I’m running out of ways to continue delivering bad news to you guys in this format. Creativity be damned; I feel like a World War 2 messenger at this point, just handing out notifications of death to the families of the deceased, trying to remain as emotionally unavailable as possible while little Jimmy Pocket and his Mom stare at me with tear-filled eyes. No Jimmy, your father isn’t coming home this Christmas. And that really awesome toy you wanted? You won’t be getting that either, because Santa never existed and now your Mom will have to pull double shifts at the diner and sell her body for money nightly just so you can eat canned hot dogs and stay off the street long enough to die with some dignity at age 7, when, following your Mom’s inevitable descent into cocaine and then full-on heroin addiction she’s since developed as a coping mechanism for being ravaged by the local charlatans and bottom-feeders day after day, she will fall asleep with a cigarette in her mouth and burn your house to the ground while you are dreaming of something, anything to remove you from the hellish nightmare your existence has become.

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“The California Kid” is Back, Faces Vaughan Lee in #1 Contender Bout at UFC 156 [BA DUM TSSH]


(“It looks like this artist…*puts on sunglasses*… finally got his SHOT at fame. YEAAAAHHHH!!!) 

There is perhaps no fighter in MMA history who has looked more deadly in victory and more broken in defeat than former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber. After dropping his umpteenth title bid (albeit one of those pesky interim ones) to Renan Barao at UFC 149, many MMA pundits were calling for “The California Kid’s” retirement, because in their eyes, being able to beat 98% of your division just isn’t good enough to warrant your existence.

Yet for some reason, it appears that Faber still wants to continue making boatloads of cash in this thing called MMA, and will return at UFC 156 to face off against Vaughan Lee.

Who in the blue Hell is Vaughan Lee, you ask? Good question.

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