The injury bug has a taste for Dominick Cruz.
The (former) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight champion suffered a groin tear just weeks before his long-awaited return to the Octagon, which was set to go down at UFC 169 on Feb. 1, 2014, where he was set to challenge (former) interim 135-pound champion Renan Barao.
Cruz, however, could be back in the swing of things sooner, rather than later, as his trainer Eric Del Fierro stopped by "The MMA Hour" and revealed that his doctors told him he could be in training in as little as six-to-eight weeks because the injury will not require surgery.
"He has a grade two or three groin tear...it doesn't require surgery but there's no way to get around it. He was trying to figure out how to still fight and he couldn't do it. We had to pull him from the fight. He was doing great. Sparring was going perfect and he somehow just overextended himself."
The latest setback cost "The Dominator" his title as UFC officials were forced to strip the longtime champ of his belt and award sole ownership to Barao.
Cruz isn't guaranteed an immediate shot at the title upon his return and according to Del Fierro, he might need to win one more fight before getting a chance to reclaim his strap.
"Without sitting down and talking to Dominick, I don't want to put that out...without a belt, there really is no rush...but if we're presented with the idea of doing one fight and going for the belt, I'd have to talk."
Urijah Faber agreed to step in on a few weeks notice to challenge Barao in Newark, New Jersey; a rematch of their UFC 149 interim title fight which saw Renan win via unanimous decision.
"The California Kid," however, is confident the results will be much different this time around.
What say you, Maniacs, should Cruz have to work his way back up to a title shot, or is an immediate championship fight against either Faber or Barao in order once he's healthy?