It’s not the way he wanted a vacation, but UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is recovering from hand surgery that will put him on the sidelines for the next four or five months.
It’s much needed time off for the UFC’s top 135-pound fighter after back-to-back title defenses in just the span of a few months.
Cruz bested longtime rival Urijah Faber back in July and then made a quick turn around to defeat Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Versus 6 in October.
Now Cruz is waiting for his hand to heal after suffering the injury in the fight with Johnson, but that doesn’t mean he’s not watching other fights in his division with a lot of interest.
The one he may most want to watch is the upcoming fight at UFC 139 between old foe Urijah Faber and the man he beat to capture the bantamweight belt, Brian Bowles.
While UFC President Dana White has stopped short of saying anything is guaranteed, the winner between Faber and Bowles is likely in line to face Cruz next, once his hand is healthy and he’s back in action.
So who does the champion think he’ll be facing?
“It’s kind of a toss up, but if I had to bet I’d give the edge to Faber. Just because I think he can take Bowles down and just beat him up on the ground,” Cruz told MMAWeekly.com recently.
In the breakdown of the fight, Cruz believes it’s Faber’s wrestling that will make all the difference. He also points to the power of Brian Bowles’ hands and that’s something he doesn’t think the “California Kid” wants any part of.
“I don’t think he’s even going to try to stand with Bowles,” Cruz said. “I think he’s going to take Bowles down and ground and pound him on the ground. That’s how I think that fight’s going to go.”
If Faber is successful, all signs are pointing towards a trilogy with Cruz to settle the score once and for all. Faber beat Cruz a few years back at featherweight in the WEC, and Cruz got his revenge this summer winning a unanimous decision to retain his UFC bantamweight title.
It’s also no giant secret that Cruz and Faber aren’t exactly old friends exchanging gifts around the holidays.
“Let’s do it!” Cruz said with excitement about a potential third fight with Faber.
Nov. 19 will tell the tale for Faber and Bowles and then it’s just a matter of the winner being officially offered the next shot at Dominick Cruz.