The former UFC bantamweight champion has a return date set against Takeya Mizugaki. Cruz has been out since October 2011 when he defended his title against Demetrious Johnson who went on to become the promotion’s flyweight champion. UFC sources confirmed the news to ESPN.
Cruz (19-1) had a return date set earlier this year at UFC 169 in February but an injury to the former champ’s quad removed him from that bout and forced him to vacate his title. His original injury was a badly torn ACL that he suffered in 2012.
Since he left the division, Renan Barao became the interim champion with a win over Urijah Faber in 2012 and was later promoted to champion once Cruz vacated the belt. Barao later lost his belt to T.J. Dillashaw. Those two will rematch at UFC 177, possibly lending Cruz his next fight against the winner of that bout, if he is victorious over Mizugaki (20-7-2).
Cruz was the bantamweight champion starting in the WEC promotion with a TKO win over Brian Bowles at WEC 47 until the promotion’s last event before being dissolved in to the UFC. That event was WEC 53 where he not only defended his WEC belt for the last time, but was awarded the inaugural UFC bantamweight champion.
Also according to ESPN, Cruz vs. Mizugaki will take place on the PPV portion of the card.