The last time he fought was against Demetrious Johnson in October 2011.
Cruz was scheduled to fight a rubber match against Urijah Faber at UFC 148 in July of 2012. While the two were coaching season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter, Cruz tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during training.
He underwent surgery that utilized the ligament from a cadaver to repair his ACL. His body, unfortunately, rejected the foreign ligament, so he had to undergo a second surgery in late 2012.
Now, half a year later, he has finally been cleared to begin sparring again.
“Leaving LA now,n doc just cleared me to start boxing(sparring):)-one step at a time!C u wit some new tricks,” Cruz tweeted on Tuesday.
That’s far from news of a date for his return to the Octagon, but it is welcome news nonetheless, especially considering UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barão has just taken up his own spot on the bench.
Barão was slated to face Eddie Wineland in the UFC 161 main event on June 15 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, but was forced out of the bout due to an injured right foot, leaving the UFC with both of its bantamweight champions unable to fight.
Hopefully, Cruz’s clearance to spar is a signal that he’ll be returning to action sooner rather than later.