On January 17th in Boston, the MMA World will hopefully get to see two of the greatest Bantamweights in UFC history.
I say hopefully because Dominick Cruz (20-1) has been cursed by injury for the past few years. After a series of career-threatening injurie,s Cruz will be hoping to regain the title he vacated in 2014. He was arguably lucky to hold on to the strap for so long having not fought since Oct 2011.
After Cruz was forced out due to injury Renin Barao began his reign as the Interim Bantamweight Champ after initially winning the strap in a bout against Urijah Faber.
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Barao defended the belt twice before being awarded the Undisputed crown after Cruz was forced to withdraw from a unification bout. Barao again defeated Faber in his first legitimate title defense, solidifying himself as the king at 135lbs.
At UFC 173, Barao was set to defend his title again against an up and coming TJ Dillashaw (12-2). This was built as a showcase fight for the new king. TJ Dillashaw didn't read the script, however, and put on one of the most spectacular performances in UFC history.
A huge underdog Dillashaw controlled the fight picking apart Barao right from the first bell before finishing Barao by TKO in the final round. Dillashaw has defended the belt twice since, including another finish of Barao.
Cruz has only fought once since 2011 with a spectacular comeback performance against Takeya Mizugaki stopping him in the first round. It looked as though Cruz was ready at that point before again tearing ligaments in his knee.
The question remains, is this a fight that needs to happen? You could argue that Cruz is no longer relevant. TJ however, needs this fight to happen in order to cement his place as the greatest Bantamweight in the world right now.
So he should be hoping that his team wrap him in bubble wrap until January and that Cruz doesn't tear anything on the walkout to the cage.
Will Cruz make it to the octagon? Have your say in the comments section below.