Dominick Cruz Injured, Vacates Belt; Renan Barão to Defend Against Urijah Faber at UFC 169

January 7, 2014
44 Comments

Dominick Cruz 478x270

UFC president Dana White on Monday revealed that UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has suffered a groin injury that would force him out of his return to unify his title with the interim belt of Renan Barão at UFC 169.

With the injury, and having already been sidelined for more than two years, Cruz will vacate the title. Barão immediately becomes the sole UFC bantamweight champion.

“Dominick Cruz, who hasn’t fought since October 2011 because of an ACL tear and then he hurt it again.  And now he’s getting ready for the big fight against interim champion Renan Barão. He got a grade two or three groin tear, so he’s out of the fight again,” said White on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Barão, instead of having to unify the belt with Cruz, will now put the title on the line against Urijah Faber at the Feb. 1 event on Super Bowl Weekend.

“What we’re going to do, this guy has been out for over two years, so now Renan Barão will become the bantamweight champion and Urijah Faber, one of the biggest stars in the UFC – he fought four times in 2013, four impressive straight wins, on everybody’s list this year for Fighter of the Year – he’s going to step in on just three weeks notice and take on Renan Barão,” White continued.

“Renan Barão has been tearing through everybody,” said White. “This guy hasn’t lost a fight in eight years.  Urijah Faber has been on an absolute tear too, four straight wins in 2013 against the absolute best in the world.  Not only is he ready for this, the guy is a stud and stepped up and took the fight on three and a half weeks notice.”

Cruz suffered a knee injury while training to defend his belt against Faber following a coaching stint by the two on The Ultimate Fighter in 2012. He had surgery to repair the injury, but it didn’t take, forcing him to basically start over.

The UFC allowed Cruz to hold his belt while trying to come back from the knee injury, but the groin injury follows a stretch where Cruz hasn’t fought since October of 2011.

While Cruz was out, Barão defeated Faber to become the interim UFC bantamweight champion in July of 2012. He then defended the interim strap twice in 2013, against Michael McDonald and Eddie Wineland. Barão hasn’t lost a fight since 2005, the first fight of his professional career. His record currently stands at 31-1.

Faber bounced back strong from the loss to Barão, winning four consecutive bouts. Those victories include a decision over Iuri Alcantara, along with submission victories over Ivan Menjivar, Scott Jorgensen, and Michael McDonald.

Renan Barão vs. Urijah Faber, UFC officials told MMAWeekly.com, will remain as the UFC 169 main event on Feb. 1 at The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Click here to watch the video of Dana White’s announcement concerning Dominick Cruz vacating his belt.

(Jeff Cain contributed to this report.)

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  • brad king

    Smart move Barao woulda destroyed him within 2 rounds and he kinda knew it.

  • LetsKeepItReal

    I would rather see Faber fight after a full camp. This will be his last title shot.

    • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

      What do you think about Faber vs Edgar at FW?

      • Darin

        That would be a great matchup! I see Faber taking it….or Edgar with yet another razor close split decision. Uriah is one of those rare dudes who stays relevant regardless of how many times someone beats him. He’s never boring, always goes all out in every fight he’s had, and he’s a threat to anyone in his division.

        • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

          Indeed. He’s been a beast and has been finishing everyone.

        • Rence

          Lets not overlook the fact that Uriah’s ONLY losses are in championship fights. He’s never lost a fight that wasnt for a title.

          That being said, this should be a great fight. I kind of hope Faber pulls it off this time. He really earned my respect in that 2nd fight with Brown. Two broken hands and still stays in the fight. Cant punch a guy cuz your hand is broke? NP, Thats why we have elbows. Anyone can say what they will, but that takes huge brass ones.

  • Seth

    Most profitable injury for fans :) Now this show has a chance to be really profitable for UFC! :) Have nice day and retire, Dominick.

    • MC Will Z

      Y r u such a hater. Put your feet in that mans shoes and see how it feels

      • Seth

        Im not a hater – but I was waiting for it. He should be stripped long time ago and if third injury in a row isn’t obvious sign you should retire, then join Tito and Lil Nog as a fighter that MAY shows up…but most likely won’t. Oddsmaker should start putting odds “Will Cruz fight, or will he get injured AGAIN?”. Isn’t that sad, that he keep getting hurt but keep going on – only to get hurt again?

  • Wolf Ticket

    Why so much hate for Cruz guys? Also, I really do not like that Faber only has 3 weeks to prepare. If he loses, will that really prove that he didn’t improve enough to beat Barão?

    • Maddawgmar

      Not necessarily, while he is always “in shape”, he may will not have time to peak physically. A big difference between being in good shape and peaking. But I agree Faber is better now than he has ever been.

    • Guest

      Yes im pretty sure a loss would indeed prove that he did not improve enough to beat barao

  • BigDaddyMatty

    Crazy time for our UFC champs. First GSP gives up the belt and walks away. Then Silva Gumby’s his leg in front of millions of fans. Now a man who hasn’t fought in over 2 years manages to hurt himself yet again. What’s next? Pettis and Cain are out until late 2014 and they could have the same thing happen. I guess Bones is all we have left.

    • bajafox

      Demetrous Johnson, Weidman and Rousey should all be ready to go within a few months

  • Sgt. Pepper

    I think Cruz backed down… he knew Renan would kill him

  • fsunoles10

    thats extremely disappointing and hope dude heals up in full now that he doesnt have the title being vacated to worry about. he can now take his time not saying he wasnt originally but to me it seems like he was rushing to come back, he got hurt and then suffered a set back and it just seems like i said he was doing everything he could to come back but sometimes your body just needs time to patch itself up. i remember breaking my ankle and foot which i know are different injuries but i took my case off early and it was clear i didnt give my body enough time to heal and that was about 3 or 4 months after i broke it, i could feel my bones rubbing when i put weight on it and all that, im not a doctor but dude needs to take his time, you only get one body.

    • fsunoles10

      *cast

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    Faber earned this title shot big time and all but this sucks IMO. I was really looking forward to Barao and Cruz going at it considering Urijah lost to both of them already and Renan has defended the interim title while Cruz has been out. Still should be an exciting fight though.

    • Mark McDowall

      I think the fight is more exciting if Cruz has at least 1 tune up fight. Coming off an injury thats kept him out this long, he wouldnt stand a chance against Barao based on ring rust alone.

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        Yea at this point I don’t see him coming back and getting a title shot right away. Maybe he’ll fight the loser. Makes sense either way.

  • Muaythai4life

    To be honest, this is good for Cruz. Barao is a beast and Cruz hasn’t fought in 2 years. That’s a lot of ring rust to shake off against top competition. Cruz will likely need two or three fights back before he’s 100% back to himself, if that’s possible with his injuries.

  • subtlefist

    how long should the rest of the division wait for Cruz? He’s already been out longer than a year and now this. That likely puts him at nearly three years of non action while holding the belt. If he had respect for the division he would have vacated the title until ready to return. It is not fair to hold the division hostage because the champion is unable to compete. They made the right decision on this.

    • Maddawgmar

      I believe they said he vacated the belt, not stripped.

    • Mark McDowall

      Pretty sure Barao has been going through the divisions as the interum champion. And the division has been moving on just fine without him.

  • drkdisciple

    Faber has absolutely no chance of beating Barao!

    • uncle

      Barao by homicide

  • JDMMA

    Now Cruz can be 7 years undefeated : )

  • Billtron

    good. Please give Barao the strap!

  • TheKaveman

    Hey – very good news. I never found Dominick enjoyable as a champion, so pleased to see justice served here. Faber vs Barao is a better match-up anyway – imo.

    • Lukeyluke200

      thats because he never fought lol

  • David Huenecke

    I actually wanted to see this fight just to see what would happen. I know barao is lightning quick but cruz always has that creepy calm demeanor about him. I hope urijah wins so cruz can beat him and then fight barao for real. With injuries behind him and a good camp. We all know he probably wouldve lost but i wanted to see it just in case he didnt. It couldve been epic. Heal well cruz and the come back.

    • yup

      lol if he gets that hurt in training, imagine what happens in a fight. hes done.

      • dvfsvsvdsvsdvsdv

        You do realise plenty of mma fighters get injured in training don’t you? It’s called a freak accident. Same as what your mother called you when you were conceived. And again when you were born. And then repeatedly throughout your life.

        • King_DG

          ouch that was harsh hahaha

        • yup

          been over 2 years he has been hurt, he cant even get through one fight.
          at least i was a freak accident. your parents tried their hardest and
          still all they could create was a piece of sh][t

          been over 2 years he has been hurt, he cant even get through one fight.
          at least i was a freak accident. your parents tried their hardest and
          still all they could create was a piece of sh][t….

      • David Huenecke

        A groin injury like that is actually very common in wrestling and bjj. So i wouldnt put the guy down just yet. Especially considering fighters generally train harder for a fight than the fight itself. Hence the saying train hard fight easy.

        • jeremy

          yup i agree, you here fighters say this all the time..

    • John Bunch

      I like the sound of that because I felt like Faber did just enough to beat Cruz last time they fought, but I realize it could have gone either way. That being said, Barao is a beast and I’ll be surprised if either guy can beat him. Definitely wanted to see how Barao would handle Cruz’s crazy movement in the ring…hopefully we will see that fight one day.

  • George Sperry

    The California Cud has NO chance.

  • Matt McCarthy

    Im so sick of hearing about Cruz…… all hype and always injured. I really would love to see Uriah win the belt. He choked Cruz out in rd 1 their 1st fight, wouldve beat him by decision the 2nd battle had Cruz not been the UFC champ (cuz decisions ALWAYS favor champ) and the man has the heart of a lion. Afraid of nobody. And I’ll admit Barao is lethal, but all you saying faber has “no chance”…. you are delusionsal.

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    Now Urijah earned this title shot big time but Barao already fought him and won. If anyone has a chance at taking that belt from Renan it’s Faber so it will be an exciting fight. The downside to this is that Cruz and Barao never fought before and that would really have been the ultimate match up in that divsion considering Dominick beat Faber their second fight and Barao defended the interim title. Either way I see Cruz getting the loser of this fight so I think we will all see these three go at it soon enough. Now Cruz will be sitting on the side talking how the winner is just a paper champ, that’s what really sucks.

  • Kenny Powers

    Im taking Faber for the hell of it. He looks better than he ever has rite now, and to take the fight on 3 weeks notice, he must be confident. Ofcourse i wont be suprised if Barao wins but i think Faber is really hungry rite now and he’s gonna take it to him. Remember, It took Barao 4 rounds to stop Mcdonald and he got rocked in the process, Faber just went in there and destroyed him. I think as long as he checks those leg kicks, should be a good fight.

  • Alex Anderson

    I keep saying that Faber is among the very best non-champions. Not that he isn’t highly regarded already, but I think Faber is a little bit underrated. In my view, he’s pretty similar to Hendricks, Velasquez, or Wiedman in style and in pound per pound quality, but not ranked as high because he’s in a more competitive and yet less marketable weight class. The only area he’s seemed to struggle with are with reach, because he’s stocky and because he hasn’t historically been the best kicker either. His greatest opponents are also somewhat underrated, even Jose Aldo (at least amongst fans).

  • otto

    DC should just stick to commentating, i mean how long has it been now, doesnt do a bad job with the mic, I think thats a bad matchup for DC anyway, hes eager to prove himself after that long layoff, IMO Barao was gonna clean his clock and keep him sidelined for another stretch of time….