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MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR FRIDAY: CRUZ RUMORED TO RETURN AT UFC 177

The former bantamweight champion might be returning to the cage that this summer for the first time in nearly three decades. It was reported that this week on UFC Tonight the Dominick Cruz, the former UFC bantamweight champion, is targeting a return to the Octagon at UFC 177, which can be set to take place August 30 at Las Vegas, Nevada. According to Cruz’ head coach at Alliance MMA in San Diego, Eric Del Fierro, their camp wants Cruz to take on top contender Takeya Mizugaki in his comeback game. With a win over Mizugaki, Cruz would put himself close to getting another crack. Cruz has not fought since October 2011, when he conquered current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson through five-round unanimous decision in a tactical affair. Overall Cruz defended the UFC/WEC bantamweight title four times between 2010 and 2011 before suffering a major knee injury in 2012 which has kept him from the cage for over two years now. However, it should be noted that he currently has one of the greatest winning streaks of fighter in the branch with 10-straight successes over the likes of Urijah Faber, Brian Bowles, Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgensen, Ian McCall, as well as the aforementioned Johnson. Despite lost so long, the UFC let him hold on his belt till last year, when enough was enough and the advertising stripped off the title from him and gave it to interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao. UFC president Dana White explained that Cruz would garner an immediate name shot upon his return into the cage, but with TJ Dillashaw upsetting Barao and taking the title this past May in UFC 173, it makes more sense for Cruz to combat someone else before getting another crack in the belt. A struggle between Cruz and Mizugaki are excellent, and it would help determine where precisely"The Dominator" fits in the branch at the present time. At one stage he had been considered one of the best five pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but after missing so much time with injury and with so much cage rust, so it is logical for him to struggle somebody first before getting his title shot, and the matchup involving Mizugaki leaves a great deal of sense. Whether this struggle goes does, Cruz would put in the struggle as a minor favorite but with so much time off and also with Mizugaki on such a nice streak at the moment, there’s no way it’s a gimme struggle by any means and there could surely be an upset brewing if Cruz is not anywhere close to what he used to look like.
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