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Dominick Cruz praises ‘inspiring human’ John Lineker following UFC 233 fallout

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MMA: UFC 207-Garbrandt vs Cruz Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans were bummed out earlier this week when it was revealed that former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz was forced out of his clash with John Lineker at UFC 233 on Jan. 26 in Anaheim, Calif., due to a shoulder injury.

With additional fallout leaving UFC 233’s main card in shambles, the promotion decided to cancel the event all together.

While fighters get injured all the time, this was particularly frustrating for Cruz fans considering the 33-year-old has fought just four times since 2011. That includes a recent title loss to Cody Garbrandt back at UFC 207 in 2016, which is the last time Cruz stepped foot inside of the Octagon.

Despite being one of the best bantamweights in the history of the sport, Cruz has been significantly hampered by a litany of injuries throughout the majority of his UFC career. Few fighters can understand the countless up-and-downs that “Dominator” has experienced, especially considering Cruz is capable of performing at an elite level.

One fighter who has shown his support for Cruz has been Lineker himself, who reached out to the former UFC champion in light of their UFC 233 fallout. Cruz, who isn’t known to chum it up with opponents, offered the following message to “Hands of Stone” earlier today via Instagram:

“The deep respect I have for you as a human being outside of the octagon is one of the biggest reasons I was honored to have this fight with you.” Cruz wrote.

“The opportunity would have been a great challenge for me next up in my career.

“I regret that I didn’t get the honor of competing against you on our set date,” he continued. “I appreciate you reaching out authentically from your heart with humility in your kind, powerful words. Thank you for teaching ME what it looks like to be a whole-hearted inspiring human that looks at the 100,000-foot view, eliminating the self-focus concern that includes only selfish needs and interests. This is a setback opportunity unfolding that will become part of my legacy. With nothing but respect for you, I wish you the best in your next matchup and look forward to watching you further compete.”

This is quite the praise from one of the most competitive fighters in MMA today.

A victory over Cruz would have pushed Lineker extremely close to his first ever UFC title shot. Since making his return to the division in 2015, Lineker has posted an outstanding 6-1 record, only losing to current UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw two years ago.

While Lineker is sure to be re-booked in the coming weeks, fight fans are holding out hope that Cruz can make a quick recovery, stay healthy, and return to the title hunt.