Dominick Cruz Next Fight: Renan Barao Match Possible After UFC 173, Dana White Advises 'Dominator' To Start Smaller [VIDEO]

Raimundo Ortiz
By Raimundo Ortiz @AroundtheMundo
on May 23, 2014 02:47 PM EDT
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Dominick Cruz
Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (Photo : Getty)

Dominick Cruz, former UFC bantamweight champion who was last seen defending his title against Demetrious Johnson way back in 2011, is nearing a return. Rumor has it that he has his eyes on fighting for the crown right off the bat, against the winner of Renan Barao and T.J. Dillashaw, who are headlining UFC 173 this Saturday.

UFC president Dana White acknowledged that scenario as a possibility, but is openly advising Cruz to stay away from such a tall task. "I don't care who he wants to fight. I'm just saying personally if you ask me, that's not the guy I'd be running around trying to fight after a two-year layoff," White said.

"I'd want to get back in there, see how I feel, see if I'm a little rusty. You know, work out the kinks."

Cruz is 19-1-0 in his career, with the sole loss coming all the way back in 2007 vs. Urijah Faber. Since 2011 though, he has had to battle through a litany of injuries to his knees and groin and still hasn't made it back inside the Octagon. However, if he truly desires Barao or Dillashaw, White won't stop him.

"It's on. It's on. The last guy on this f****ng planet I'm ever going to deny is Dominick Cruz," White said. "He's had enough bad news over the last two years. He's not going to get any bad news from me."

Cruz might be wise to heed White's words, though. Since "The Dominator" disappeared, Barao has ascended to the very top of many MMA pound-for-pound lists--inclduing even White's.

"Renan Barao has done everything," White said. "He's knocked people out with knees, with punches, with kicks. He's won with every submission you can do. He's beat people just about every way you can beat somebody, with both submissions and striking.

"He's never been taken down in the UFC, ever. He's got the most bantamweight finishes in UFC and WEC history. Even after how great Jon Jones looked at UFC 172, the more I start to dig into this thing and look at it, I think you have to say that Renan Barao is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport."

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