The current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight champion has been out of action now for 17 months, sidelined by an ACL injury for 10 of those months which has now required two surgeries to fix.
Prior to the setback, "The Dominator" was riding high with 10 straight wins dating back to the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) days where he also reigned supreme as the 135-pound champion.
During his absence, Barao emerged as the division's interim champion by defeating Urijah Faber at UFC 149 and recently defended the title against Michael McDonald at UFC on FUEL TV 7, extending his streak to a ridiculous 30 straight wins.
Something Cruz wishes he could be able to do, but understands the show must go on with, or without him, as he recently told MMA Fighting:
"I'm out of the equation until I'm cleared by the doctor. Barao is the champion for now, and my belt/title defenses up to this point save me a spot to fight the interim champion when I am healed. The UFC is a machine, and machines never stop. It's out of my hands at this point."
Showing the patience of a snail, Cruz is determined to not get back into the cage until he is at full speed:
"I'm listening to my doctors and I'm not putting extra pressure on myself by giving any timeline because it's not possible to do so as of now. Everything associated with recovery/rehab is on track 100 percent."
However, being patient and sitting around waiting for a doctor's clearance while bantamweight title fights are going on without him, is a tough pill to swallow for Dominick:
"And yes, needless to say, this sucks for me."
Barao vs. Wineland will headline the June 15 pay-per-view (PPV) event which will go down for the very first time in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
UFC 161 also features a pair of intriguing light heavyweight showdowns as Dan Henderson returns to take on Rashad Evans and Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira swing leather in a much-anticipated rematch.
See those fights and more right here.