Just when it seemed as though the UFC has escaped the injury bug, it happened again. Earlier today, the news broke that UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz tore his ACL while training for his upcoming fight against Urijah Faber.
Any injury is a negative, but a torn ACL is a travesty. A torn ACL will probably put Cruz on the sidelines for at least a year.
It’s still unclear what’s going to happen on The Ultimate Fighter reality show coaching wise as in the past an injured coach was replaced, but the season is already at the half-way point.
Fortunately for the UFC, the loss of the Cruz/Faber fight shouldn’t hurt them too bad business wise as the event that they were scheduled to fight at, UFC 148, is stacked with the mega-fight of Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen as the main event.
In retrospect the cancellation of the Silva/Sonnen fight in Brazil seems to have a bit of a silver lining.
As far as Urijah Faber goes, the decision I’d make is to make an interim bantamweight champion. Waiting a year (more than a year from Faber’s point of view) is simply too long, and that’d really put a hold on the bantamweight division.
The opponent that makes the most sense for Faber is Renan Barao who has dominated UFC competition. Barao has the credentials to compete for the title. Combine that with the fact that he’s already scheduled to fight at UFC 148 against Ivan Menjivar and the fight between Barao/Faber seems inevitable.
Barao’s fight against Ivan Menjivar won’t be missed, and a replacement to fight Menjivar should be pretty easy to find.
Aside from Barao, there aren’t to many options to contend for the interim championship. The only other fight that’d make sense would be a fight against Michael McDonald or if the UFC were to sign Bibiano Fernandes, but the Barao/Faber match-up appears to be the most likely choice.
Coming full circle back to Dominick Cruz, I really do hope he makes a full recovery as its a shame to see him suffer a significant injury at this point in his career. When he comes back the question Cruz will likely face will be whether or not he sustained the great speed that he had prior to the injury.
One can only hope so.