It was recently announced that Dominick Cruz would be making his long awaited Ultimate Fighting Championship return at UFC 169 against Renan Barao at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The bout will be Cruz's first in over two years.
A long two years that saw him sidelined because a knee injury that just failed to heal.
Now, he's facing the stiffest test of his career in interim-UFC Bantamweight champion, Renan Barao. A man who has made a very strong case for being called "the best in the world."
With such an extended time away from the cage, there are two huge questions regarding Cruz's return. The first is if he'll be able to use his patented footwork on a rehabilitated knee? The second is if he'll have a severe case of "ring rust?"
Cruz spoke with AXS television about those two huge concerns. On his footwork:
"You know my footwork is as good as ever. The biggest thing is getting your timing back, getting your rhythm back... your reaction time without thinking. That's what takes time to get back and that's what the camp is going to be about. But as for footwork, it's all exactly where I left it and I've got some new tricks up my sleeve."
Cruz on ring rust:
‘I feel that cage rust is something that's brought up to give odds makers something to bet on. I think you can work it completely out of your system as long as you're in training camp and training correctly. The biggest part about ring rust is the mental part. I think a lot of that comes from not being able to control your adrenaline, not being able to understand where you are at, not being able to relax at the right times in the fight when you need to, and you can figure all of that out, not only mentally by training your mind, but in camp you put yourself in those predicaments and rough situations. You fight out of them and that's how you prepare for ring rust. It won't be an issue and I will be ready on the night of the fight."
Cruz will get his shot at proving he's the best at UFC 169 next year. It's great to know that he's already confident with so many months out.