UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has not fought since late in 2011, due to two AClL surgeries. UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao has fought four times since then, but also had to pull out of a bout due to injury, vs. Eddie Wineland at UFC 161 on June 15. That fight has been rescheduled for UFC 165 on September 21 in Toronto, and Barao says he is "100 percent healed."
Cruz flew to Brazil to attend UFC 163 last Saturday, and met with Barao. According to Barao, Cruz will be fighting in Feb of 2014.
"We only exchanged a few words because my English isn’t that good," Renan told MMAFighting.coml. "He told me he’s returning on February. I was really happy to hear that. I hope he can return so we can finally fight."
However, Cruz's head coach said 'The Dominator' not pushing things beyond his doctor's orders.
"It's a guess," Del Fierro told Damon Martin via text message. "There is no date set, hopefully sooner rather than later. Just progressing as doctor allows."
In any case, Barao has something more immediate than Cruz to think about.
"My focus now is on Wineland. He’s a tough dude, has been doing great fights. I’m well-trained and I will set a good strategy to do my best on Sept. 21."
However, Cruz said that Barao "misunderstood due to the language barrier," and that the return is just a goal at the moment.
"Right now I'm doing no weight-bearing training," said Cruz. "That's why I'm just getting cleared to grapple now because grappling would be considered weight-bearing exercises."