The UFC’s list of bantamweight contenders on Monday was dealt not one, but two devastating blows.
Cruz had just made a stunning return at UFC 178 after nearly three years out of action and having his championship stripped. After crushing Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178, he was supposed to be next up for current champion TJ Dillashaw.
Assuncao, meanwhile, has patiently bided is time for a shot at the title, winning seven consecutive bouts.
Cruz’s injury likely would have opened the door for either Assuncao or fellow former champ Renan Barao, but now Assuncao is out of the picture for the foreseeable future.
Urijah Faber is Dillashaw’s teammate and the two aren’t all that keen on fighting one another, and Michael McDonald has been out of action with a hand injury since losing to Faber last December.
At this point, Barao may be the last man standing, leaving him as one of the UFC’s only remaining options for Dillashaw’s next title defense.