A bantamweight championship fight will headline a UFC event in Boston in January. TJ Dillashaw will defend his title against former WEC and UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. The fight announcement was made on Wednesday’s edition of “UFC Tonight” on Fox Sports 1.
Cruz (20-1) has been battling injuries for the better part of four years now. After defeating Demetrious Johnson in 2011, Cruz went down with an ACL injury. After his body rejected a cadaver implant, he was forced to extend his rehab. Cruz spent all of 2012 and most of 2013 out with the ACL injury but it was announced that he would face Renan Barao to unify the bantamweight titles in February of 2014. Shortly after that fight announcement, Dana White went on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” to tell everyone that Cruz had suffered a torn groin muscle and that he would be stripped of his bantamweight championship.
Cruz would return in September of 2014 and put on “Performance of the Night” in his win over Takeya Mizugaki. The win was so impressive that Cruz was named the number one contender and his next bout would be against TJ Dillashaw for the bantamweight title that he never lost. Three months later Cruz broke the news that he had suffered torn ACL in his other knee and that he would miss most if not all of 2015.
Dillashaw (12-2) shocked MMA fans everywhere when he defeated Renan Barao to capture the bantamweight title in May of 2014. He would repeat the championship performance this past July when he defeated Barao a second time putting to rest any doubts about his legitimacy as a champion. Now he will get the opportunity to defeat the man who never actually lost the title.
“If you really look at Dominick Cruz, he never really lost the title,” UFC president Dana White stated. “The superfight for T.J. right now is Cruz. Cruz has never been beat (in a title fight), and really is still the champion. He got stripped of the title because he can’t stay healthy.”