Because of how long he was out of action -- he missed almost three full years due to various injuries and setbacks while attempting to recover from those injuries -- it's easy to forget that Dominick Cruz was once one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. In fact, he never lost the bantamweight championship he last successfully defended against current flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson. He simply vacated it due to inactivity.
Still, because of the nature of his departure and the even more tumultuous nature of his layoff, there was some doubt that Cruz would return to his previous form.
He might be even better.
This was evidenced by his brutal 61 second knockout victory over Takeya Mizugaki (watch it all right here) on the preliminary card of last night's (Sat., Sept. 27, 2014) UFC 178: "Johnson vs. Cariaso" pay-per-view (PPV) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
His win was so impressive, it erased all doubt and led to UFC President Dana White quickly revealing that Cruz won't have to wait any longer to challenge T.J. Dillashaw for the title he never lost at an undisclosed date and event in the future.
"History has shown that guys who have taken three years off in the fight game come back and they're never the same. Nobody does that to Mizugaki. It was unbelievable. I'm really happy for the kid, nobody has worse luck than him. Tonight, he's back. Injuries are the reason he had to give (the belt) up and dropped out of the rankings and everything else. There's no doubt he's back, he just knocked out the number five guy in the world. Yeah, it makes all the sense in the world (to give him a title shot)."
Anyone want to object?