Thanks to a torn ACL, which may (or may not) have been caused by Strikeforce female champion Ronda Rousey in training, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight belt is, for all intents and purposes, being held hostage by the injured Dominick Cruz.
Urijah Faber, however, would like to change all that with a quickness.
"The California Kid" -- who was fixing for a trilogy fight against the "Dominator" in the UFC 148 co-main event -- was disappointed to hear the bad news earlier today. But Faber, who has spent the last several weeks coaching opposite Cruz on the set of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15: "Live," isn't about to let the setback dash his championship aspirations.
On the contrary, he just recently released a video message that stated his desire to remain on the Fourth of July-weekend fight card on July 7, 2012, as well as compete for an interim 135-pound belt while Cruz licks his wounds and recovers from a major knee injury.
He lays out his case, as well as lists his top three possible opponents, after the jump:
"I'm sure everyone has heard the terrible news that Dominick Cruz tore his ACL. There's a lot of rumors rolling around about the whole situation, possibly that Ronda Rousey is the one who made it happen. It sucks for everybody, especially myself and Dominick. I wish him a speedy recovery -- you don't wish that on anybody. I know he wanted to scrap. Now, I'm just waiting to hear what happens. I'm thinking an interim title fight -- [Dominick] has been out almost 1.5 years now -- once this surgery goes through it's going to be another nine months. I'm hoping for a top contender: Renan Barao, in my opinion is next up with Michael McDonald after that and Ivan Menjivar after that. I'm just waiting to see -- I know as much as you guys do, but I'm ready to scrap on July 7. And, as far as I'm concerned, that's when it's going down."
Barao is certainly the most impressive of the bunch if not the most deserving. The talented Brazilian is on an unprecedented win streak and has won three straight inside the Octagon, including a dominant decision over former number one division contender Scott Jorgensen his last time out.
There's just one catch: Renan Barao vs. Ivan Menjivar was expected to take place on the same UFC 148 fight card from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion would, therefore, have to do another line up reshuffle vis-a-vis UFC 146 to make that happen.
It wouldn't be the first time ... and it certainly won't be the last.
Stay glued to MMAmania.com for more on this developing story, as well as Faber's eventual UFC 148 replacement. In the meantime, be sure to check out our complete UFC 148 event archive for all the latest news and notes right here.