Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will finally make his long-awaited return to the Octagon at UFC 233. The promotion made the bout official on Twitter on Wednesday.
— UFC (@ufc) December 5, 2018
Cruz hasn’t fought since Cody Garbrandt defeated him by decision at UFC 207, which marked the end of his reign as UFC bantamweight champ. By the time Cruz makes his walk to the Octagon it will have been 775 days since he lost to Garbrandt.
The former champion has been sidelined due to multiple injuries. Although Cruz hasn’t fought since December 2016, he did almost return against Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 but had to pull out due to a fractured arm. Since then, the former champion has been asking for a title shot against TJ Dillashaw, which would give him the chance to reclaim his belt. However, TJ Dillashaw was not keen on this idea.
“Dominick Cruz…has been sitting out for two years, so I’ll just say that he’s ready to fight now. You know what I mean? He got obliterated,” Dillashaw said earlier this year to BJPENN Radio. “You’re gonna just sit out for two years and now I’m looking for a contender, and he’s ready all of a sudden. He wants to sit out for murderers row and not want to fight any of the top guys and still get a title fight.”
Ultimately, Cruz did not get his desired title shot and will now be taking on Lineker. The Brazilian last fought at UFC 224 where he defeated Brian Kelleher by knockout. Lineker is riding a two-fight winning streak after losing a decision to Dillashaw at UFC 207.
Cruz is currently ranked second in the division and with a win, could very well be getting the next title shot. Lineker, on the other hand, is ranked sixth and is looking to put himself in the top contender category.
Who do you think wins this fight between Dominick Cruz and John Lineker at UFC 233?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/5/2018.