Knee injuries have threatened to derail Dominick Cruz’s career. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
More than two years have passed since Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz last fought inside the Octagon.
Cruz will return from two reconstructive knee surgeries in the UFC 169 main event on Feb. 1, when he meets interim champion Renan Barao in a unification bout at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Prior to injury, the 28-year-old Alliance MMA representative had established himself as one of MMA’s top pound-for-pound fighters. Cruz has not competed since he earned a unanimous verdict over Demetrious Johnson at UFC Live 6 in October 2011.
Barao’s emergence has made “The Dominator” something of a forgotten man. The 26-year-old Brazilian, who captured interim gold with a one-sided unanimous decision over Urijah Faber in July 2012, has not tasted defeat in nearly nine years. Barao will enter the cage on a 21-fight winning streak, having last appeared at UFC 165 in September, when he wiped out Eddie Wineland with a spinning back kick to the face and follow-up punches at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
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