Dominick Cruz will headline UFC 169, his first fight in more than two years. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The bantamweight title unification bout between Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao has taken the top billing at UFC 169.
UFC officials Tuesday confirmed that the champion-versus-champion pairing will headline the Super Bowl weekend card, which takes place Feb. 1 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The event will also see Jose Aldo defend his featherweight title against Ricardo Lamas in the pay-per-view’s co-main event.
Cruz, 28, has not competed since October 2011. “The Dominator” won the WEC bantamweight title in 2009 and defended the gold against Joseph Benavidez and Scott Jorgensen before transitioning to the UFC. Cruz then outpointed Urijah Faber and Demetrious Johnson to retain his UFC title but suffered a torn ACL before he could face Faber in a UFC 149 rubber match.
In the wake of Cruz’s knee injury, Barao instead faced “The California Kid” for the interim title at UFC 149. After outpointing Faber, the 26-year-old defended the interim strap twice this year, first submitting Michael McDonald in February before stopping Eddie Wineland with strikes on Sept. 21 at UFC 165.