On Monday afternoon, news broke "The Dominator" recently underwent a second corrective surgery for a torn ACL first suffered in early May. Prior to the injury, Cruz was targeting a return late in the first quarter of 2013; however, the latest surgery is expected to keep Cruz out of action until at least mid-2013.
The most recent setback was devastating to the 27-year-old. And on this week's episode of "UFC Tonight" on FUEL TV, an extremely emotional Cruz spoke with hosts Todd Harris and Kenny Florian about how the injury occurred.
"We were doing 50 percent moving drills with each other, where basically we are working with each other, shadow boxing, but no contact. And on the mat that I was on with my brace, I don't know, man, I was moving and went to hit a pivot and the tissue just popped. I had done so much more than that in physical training, but it just happened, it just popped."
The Arizona-born fighter has only competed twice since joining the UFC ranks in early 2011 and was last seen in the Octagon successfully defending his title against Demetrious Johnson last November. Half-way through a coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show this past summer, Cruz suffered the original injury and was forced out of a bout with Urijah Faber at UFC 148.
Faber went on to fight Renan Barao for the interim UFC title at UFC 149 where he was defeated by unanimous decision. Barao stated he wanted to wait for Cruz to return from injury, but the Brazilian will now -- because of the recent injury to Cruz -- defend the interim belt against Michael McDonald in early 2013.
Cruz was visibly shaken over his latest misfortune during his appearance on "UFC Tonight," but he was very appreciative of his supporters, vowing to return stronger than ever.
"I'm having my few days of crybaby time per-se. I've allowed myself to be mad and be sad, you know, you go through the, 'why me stage?' What's the point, you know? If the fans can know how much [their support] helps me, they'll know right now: Thank you guys so much. I do this for you guys and I'm in a hurt spot right now. And the love that I get from the fans right now [choking back tears] is really keeping me up and keeping me optimistic. My glass is half full right now because the fans have my back, they want to see me back and that means everything to me. This is the toughest thing that I have been through. And I'm completely heartbroken to let down the people who wanted to see me fight, to let down the UFC and to let down anyone in the Bantamweight division. I'll be back. I'm not done. That's a promise, a guarantee."
While the situation in unfortunate for the Alliance MMA-trained fighter, Cruz should be grateful that the UFC has chosen not to strip him of the bantamweight title despite what could be nearly two years between title defenses when he recovers.
A date and location for the Barao vs. McDonald interim bantamweight championship fight is unknown at this time.