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Dominick Cruz has second ACL surgery, return pushed way back

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Ethan Miller

One of the UFC's more dominant champions will now be out for a lot longer than expected. Bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz has had to undergo a second ACL surgery and is out for the foreseeable future. MMA Junkie has the news:

Dominick Cruz underwent another major knee surgery this past week, and it'll likely further delay his return to the octagon.

Trainer Eric Del Fierro today told MMA Junkie that Cruz's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was replaced after his body rejected one from a cadaver.

The UFC bantamweight champion is in Los Angeles today to meet with a doctor who will give him a timeline for his return, Del Fierro said, though he estimated it could set the fighter back another six to nine months.

Cruz (19-1) hasn't fought since October 2011 when he defeated Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Versus 6. Urijah Faber and Cruz were coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 14 and expected to meet in July of last year, but Cruz tore the ACL and the bout was called off. Due to the nature of the injury and the long recovery time, an interim title was put up for grabs at UFC 149 in a bout between Faber and Renan Barao. Barao won, and originally stated that he'd wait for Cruz to return before fighting again. He has let up on that a bit recently though, and a bout with Michael McDonald had been mentioned for early 2013.

Despite Del Fierro saying it could be another 6-9 months, it could be a whole lot longer than that as well. The UFC will now have to decide whether to strip Cruz and make Barao the full champion, or allow Cruz to continue recovering with the belt and have Barao defend his interim bout in the meantime. Either way, it's a big blow to the bantamweight division.