AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 04: Dominick Cruz, of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, waves to the crowd before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 4, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Dominck Cruz was set to defend his UFC bantamweight title in a rubber match with Urijah Faber until a knee injury put him on the shelf. Faber will now face Renan Barao in the UFC 149 main event with the winner expected to face Cruz.
But, according to Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight (via MMA Mania), it might be a while before he is able to recover and get back in the Octagon:
"He's actually feeling great. You know, he had the surgery on June 6th, a total reconstruction of his ACL and MCL in his left leg. He's feeling great. He's saying he's ahead of schedule right now. Right now, it's a little too early to say just when he'll be ready to return. He's doing the normal physical therapy, right now. This is an injury that could take an athlete nine to maybe 18 months to return to his previous form. So right now, his spirits are high, but he doesn't want to put any kind of date out as far as when he could return to the Octagon."
For a guy like Cruz, who fights a very mobile style, not rushing back is key to "recovering the right way." If that means being out of the cage for 18 months to get a completely repaired knee in order? So be it.
The UFC doesn't let champions come back from major layoffs with a reasonable fight to get adjusted to fighting again, so he's going to have to come off the injury to a hard fight, he needs to be 100% when that happens.