Dana White: 'We really need to make a decision' on UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz

Christian Petersen

Renan Barao may no longer be the Interim champion after UFC 161, even if he defeats Eddie Wineland in Winnipeg.

Come to Jesus meeting? More like come to Dana.

Reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) last year while training for his UFC 148 title defense against Urijah Faber, was forced to go under the knife a second time after his body rejected the original import from a cadaver.

The projected date for his return? Unknown.

In his absence, Renan Pegado stepped in to beat "The California Kid" for the Interim strap, prior to successfully defending it against Michael McDonald at the UFC on FUEL TV 7 event last month in London. "Barao" was recently asked to headline UFC 161 against Eddie Wineland on June 15 in Winnipeg.

The show must go on, according to UFC President Dana White, who feels it's time to "make a decision" about the future of the division.

"He's our champ, he's our guy, and he needs time. But we're getting to the point now where we really need to make a decision. This poor kid ... I've never seen anybody with more bad luck than Cruz, man. And for him, coming back into this division, you know the way the sport is to have been off for over two years. This is stuff that needs to be talked about with him, and even if I had a decision about him, I wouldn't say it here. He deserves the respect to come out to Vegas and sit down and talk about it."

There was a point in the not-too-distant past when White even mentioned retirement.

Cruz (19-1), who flat-out guaranteed his return, has not competed since a unanimous decision victory over Demetrious Johnson back in Oct. 2011. His only professional loss came by way of submission to Faber back in the old days of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), one he eventually avenged at UFC 132.

If "The Dominator" does indeed make it back into the Octagon, he may do it without his 135-pound title.

Stay tuned.

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