“The Dominator” has not fought since losing the bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt back at UFC 207 in December 2016. The 33 year-old was scheduled to meet Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219, although he had to withdraw from the fight after suffering a broken his arm in training.
Cruz appeared on Monday’s episode of “The MMA Hour” and talked about the status of his latest injury and his potential return to the Octagon:
“I go see the doctor on Thursday. I should get cleared, and then we’ll have a good case for myself to get back in there as soon as possible. I’m trying to get back in there before the end of the year .”
Cruz was asked by host Ariel Helwani if he had any potential opponents in mind for his return, with the veteran stating he’s eyeing a top-5 ranked opponent:
“I like anybody in the top-5 right now. After the amount of time that I’ve been out, I just want to come back [and] face somebody in the top-5 … get a win going and then I want to fight for the belt … That’s kind of what needs to happen. I’m in line, right there … Both [potential] belt-holders (Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw) understand that if they want a fight that’s going to bring eyes to the television… It’s going to be a fight against me in the 135-pound division.”
“I think that [Marlon] Moraes is up there. I think there’s a couple guys… It’s just a matter of when the doctor clears me and when I’m ready to fight. I’m trying to be back before the end of the year… I haven’t been cleared by the doctor, so I’m trying to just listen to the doctor on this one so I don’t postpone my comeback.”