For the first time in nearly three years, former bantamweight world champion Dominick Cruz is set to return September 27 at UFC 178 against Takeya Mizugaki. "The Dominator" confirmed the news in a recent ESPN interview.
"I'm excited to finally be back," Cruz said.
"It's been a long time coming, but I feel great and I'm already training hard. Mizugaki is tough and he's been on a roll, but I'm ready to get back in there and prove that I'm the best bantamweight in the world."
Mizugaki has won five straight bouts. Cruz has won ten straight bouts but has not fought since October, 2011, when he successfully defended his bantamweight belt against Demetrious Johnson.
Cruz was initially sidelined with a torn ACL. He would go on to need a second ACL surgery, delaying his recovery.
Then, just as he was set to return this past year in a title unification bout against the man who won an interim title in his absence, Renan Barao, Cruz injured his quad and groin and pulled out. Since that time, Barao has lost the belt to TJ Dillashaw and is set to rematch the Team Alpha Male fighter.