UFC Champ Cruz to Undergo Sidelining Surgery

By Sherdog.com Staff Jan 10, 2011
Dominick Cruz will undergo long-delayed surgery on his left index finger this week in Chicago, the UFC bantamweight champion told ESPN.com Monday.

The top-ranked 135 pounder joins the list of sidelined UFC champions which includes featherweight ace Jose Aldo (neck injury) and top heavyweight Cain Velasquez (shoulder injury). Cruz outlined a time frame of 8-12 weeks before he is likely to return to training, with the possibility of a six month hiatus from competition.

“It could be six months, but I’m not planning on six months,” Cruz said.

The 25-year-old Alliance MMA product first sustained the injury last summer in training for his Aug. 18 rematch with Joseph Benavidez at WEC 50. Nonetheless, Cruz defended his WEC bantamweight title against the Urijah Faber pupil, earning a split decision after five rounds. Following the bout, Cruz was issued a 180-day medical suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to a potential fracture of his right hand.

Cruz put off surgery to put his belt on the line one final time at WEC’s last show, WEC 53, on Dec. 16. Prior to that bout with Scott Jorgensen, the champion made it public that, win or lose, he would be taking time off for hand surgery afterward. Cruz again retained his belt with a dominant 25-minute performance against the hard-nosed Boise State wrestler, after which he was crowned the inaugural UFC bantamweight champion.

Cruz holds a professional record of 17-1 and has won eight straight contests, including his last seven under the WEC banner. His only loss came in his WEC debut in March 2007, when he was submitted via guillotine choke by then-featherweight champion Urijah Faber. The “California Kid” has since dropped to bantamweight, and Cruz has been vocal in his desire for a rematch with Faber, who is scheduled to face Eddie Wineland at UFC 128 on March 19.
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