Dominick Cruz Returns to Action
The last time UFC fans saw Dominick Cruz (22-3) in the octagon was back in May where he fought Henry Cejudo (16-2) for the Bantamweight Championship. That match ended with Cruz losing by TKO after a flurry of blows to the head. Cejudo retired shortly after, putting the title back up for grabs. Before that, it had been nearly four years since Cruz’s previous fight where Cruz lost his own Bantamweight title belt to Cody Garbrandt (12-3) on Dec. 30, 2016.
Compiling and worsening injuries have plagued Cruz for much of his career and were the main reason for the large gap between fights. These injuries have included ACL tears, as well as groin and shoulder issues that have no doubt taken their toll on the former champion. Before his loss to Garbrandt in 2016, Cruz had gone 22-1 in his professional MMA career. Now, it remains to be seen if he could ever return to the dominance over the Bantamweight division he once had.
It was recently announced Cruz will be facing off against Casey Kenney (16-2-1) at UFC 259 on March 6, 2021. This is a great opportunity for Cruz to shrug off his recent struggles and prove that he hasn’t lost a step. Cruz has more experience when compared to his opponent, but Kenney is coming into the fight with three straight wins and will be looking to keep his momentum up against the UFC veteran.
While it may not be another shot at the title, there is still plenty at stake for Cruz. He is currently ranked #10 in the Bantamweight division, but a loss to Kenney could cause him to tumble out of the rankings altogether and significantly reduce his chances of ever competing for another championship again. With a win however, Cruz could continue building his case for another opportunity for the belt.
Despite Kenney’s recent successes, he has yet to take on a fighter of Cruz’s caliber. If Cruz can come close to his prime self, he should be easily positioned for the win. Whether or not he can do so remains to be seen.