The MMA Gods seem to have it in for Dominick Cruz. Just when it looked as if Cruz was ready to return from two knee surgeries and defend his UFC bantamweight title for the first time since defeating Demetrious Johnson in October 2011, he goes and tears his groin. The injury left Cruz no choice but to pull out of his scheduled title unification bout against interim champion Renan Barao.
When UFC president Dana Whit announced that Cruz was out of UFC 169's main event, he also announced that Cruz had been stripped of his title, and that Barao would have the interim tag removed from his championship. To pour a little more salt into Cruz's open wound, the UFC moved his nemesis, Urijah Faber into the title fight against Barao.
Cruz has been silent since this news broke a little more than a week ago.
Fortunately, we are not totally in the dark concerning the now former UFC champion. Cruz's head trainer at Alliance MMA, Eric Del Fierro, recently appeared on The MMA Hour and gave some information about what Cruz is going through.
Del Fierro said of Cruz's injury, "He has a grade two or grade three level groin tear. It's one of the big muscles in his groin. It doesn't require surgery." Unfortunately, the tear was severe enough that Cruz could not continue to train.
Cruz did tweak the groin nine weeks prior to his scheduled February 1 bout against Barao, but Del Fierro said that the strain he suffered at that time was "very minor." Cruz worked through the initial strain and according to Del Fierro, his sparring and preparation for Barao were "perfect."
When the injury went from minor strain to grade three tear, Cruz was left no choice but to withdraw from the fight. Cruz will need to take it easy for six-to-eight weeks while the strain heals itself through rest.
In addition to the physical pain, Cruz is dealing with emotional strain as well, as Del Fierro said, "When you lose the belt to an opponent it's a different feeling, when you lose it to yourself, I can't put in words what he's feeling, but he's just devastated."
Del Fierro is sure that once Cruz puts the physical and emotional damage behind him he will return to fighting. In fact, Del Fierro said he was "100 percent" confident that Cruz would regain his title.
When that pursuit will begin is the question begging to be answered. According to Del Fierro, Cruz is letting his body tell him when the time will be right to get back into the Octagon.
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