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Dominick Cruz returns for bantamweight title unification bout and Jose Aldo defends featherweight belt at UFC 169

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Dominick Cruz (Getty Images)

After being sidelined for more than two years because of knee injuries, bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will finally fight again at UFC 169 Feb. 1 against interim belt-holder Renan Barao. Cruz last fought and won with a unanimous decision over now flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in October of 2011.

After that, Cruz was selected as a coach of The Ultimate Fighter, opposite his rival Urijah Faber. The two had fought twice before and were set to have a rubber match after coaching TUF.

Cruz tore his ACL in a knee and was forced out of the fight. Barao stepped in to fight Faber in an interim title bout, which he won.

[Related: Johny Hendricks suffered second-degree burns while shooting commercial for UFC 167]

Cruz' recovery was delayed by a second ACL tear and surgery. Barao has defended his interim title twice in the meantime.

The main event of UFC 169 will include another title bout as featherweight champ Jose Aldo defends against Ricardo Lamas. Lamas has won four straight bouts heading into his long-awaited title shot.

Aldo has not lost in over seven years and 16 fights. He last fought and won at UFC 163, when he stopped Chan Sung Jung in the 4th round.

UFC 169 will take place SuperBowl weekend in Newark, New Jersey. Newsday first reported the two title match ups.

Follow Elias on Twitter @EliasCepeda

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