UFC President Dana White stopped by ESPN today (Jan. 6, 2014) to announce that Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has been forced to withdraw from his title-unification match against Renan Barao, which was set to serve as the main event for UFC 169 on Feb. 1, 2014, in Newark, New Jersey.
The reason (this time)? A torn groin.
As a result, Cruz will now forfeit his post as 135-pound champion and Barao -- the interim champion -- will now be recognized as the official division kingpin.
In addition, Urijah Faber has agreed to step in on three weeks notice to rematch Barao.
"Longtime Bantamweight Dominick Cruz, who hasn't fought since October 2011, because of an ACL tear, then hurt it again, and now he's getting ready for the big fight against interim champion Renan Barao. he has a grade two or three groin tear. So, he's out of the fight, again. So people have been waiting for this to happen, so what we're going to do is, this guy has been out for two years, Renan Barao will become the bantamweight champion and Urijah Faber, one of the biggest stars in the UFC, he's had four straight wins, he's fought for times in 2013, for impressive straight wins and is on everybody's list for fighter of the year, he's going to step in on three weeks notice to take on Renan Barao."
The bout was to serve as Cruz's comeback fight after being on the sidelines for two years thanks to a recurring torn ACL. During his time off, while UFC officials were hesitant to strip Cruz of the title, it was forced to crown an interim champion when Barao defeated Faber at UFC 149 in 2011 for the honor.
Barao has since defended the title twice, while "The California Kid" has racked up four consecutive stoppage victories.
Faber will have a chance to get make it five in a row and get some sweet revenge in the process if he can put an end to Barao's ridiculous 31-fight mixed martial arts (MMA) win streak.
It will be easier said than done because you can bet your bottom dollar than Barao will bring his "A" game to make yet another successful title defense ... this time as the official Bantamweight champion.