Dominick Cruz’s post-Garbrandt hiatus from competition will continue beyond the year mark, as the former two-time UFC bantamweight champion has been forced to withdraw from UFC 219 in Las Vegas on December 30th.
Cruz was supposed to face the division’s number 3 contender Jimmie Rivera on the card, but MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani reported on Wednesday that ‘The Dominator’ recently suffered a broken arm and will obviously be unable to compete.
Dominick Cruz is out of the UFC 219 fight vs. Jimmie Rivera, sources say. Broken arm. TBD at this time what they’ll do with Rivera.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 9, 2017
The tricky and elusive Californian regained the UFC bantamweight title, which he had vacated due to injury in 2014, when he narrowly outpointed T.J. Dillashaw over five rounds at UFC Fight Night 81 in January of 2016. He made one successful defence of the strap, topping old rival Urijah Faber over the championship distance, before dropping the belt to Faber’s heavy-handed young protege Cody Garbrandt via unanimous decision at UFC 207 on December 30th of last year. He hasn’t fought since.
Cruz’s withdrawal is a significant blow to a card that is yet to take the shape that fans expect of an end-of-year UFC spectacular, and it comes just hours after Helwani reported that Holly Holm’s agent believes a mooted fight between ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ and Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino is “dead.” The UFC have yet to announce a headliner for the event, but the promotion’s president Dana White said on Tuesday that the announcement will come before the end of the week.
Rivera, who pushed his UFC record to 5-0 with recent(ish) wins over the aforementioned Urijah Faber and dangerous Brazilian Thomas Almeida, may yet remain on the card.