It is hard to believe, but UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz (Pictured) will be rooting for Urijah Faber when he battles Renan Barao for the interim 135-pound crown at UFC 148. However, Cruz’s unexpected support isn’t because the archenemies became BFFs during their stint as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter: Live,” it’s because he wants to put their rivalry to bed once and for all in a title unification bout.
“Indirectly, I’m going for Faber,” Cruz begrudgingly admitted during FUEL TV’s post-fight show on Saturday. “It’s going to be a tough fight for both of them. They’re both top five in the class and it’ll be tough for both.
“Urijah has to stay rangy and use his kicks. [I think] Faber is able to win a decision and take him down and grind him out on the ground.”
Faber took their first meeting at WEC 26 via submission to defend his featherweight title, but Cruz knotted up the score by winning a unanimous decision at UFC 132 to retain his bantamweight crown.
They were slated to complete their trilogy on Fourth of July weekend, but “The Dominator” tore the ACL in his knee last month and was forced to withdraw.
Cruz is scheduled to go under the knife this week. Although the road to recover will be a long and arduous one, the 26-year-old expects to be back in action sooner rather than later.
“I’m going to have surgery this Wednesday,” Cruz shared. “They’re saying it’s going to be a while for me to recover, but I’m saying it’s not going to take as long.”
UFC 148 takes place July 7th inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Faber and Barao will serve as the show’s co-featured attraction.