Originally posted on 5thRound.com  |  Last updated 9/12/13

Next month marks the two-year anniversary of the last time UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz (pictured) defended his throne. While UFC president Dana White has remained patient in allowing Cruz to heal from various surgeries, even manufacturing an interim title belt during his extended absence, the clock is tick on Cruz’s reign. “[Cruz] came in here a few weeks ago and had lunch with me and [UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, and he was very confident he'd be ready to go at the beginning of the year," White shared during Tuesday's UFC 165 conference call. "I certainly hope this is the last time we're doing the interim title. "We're expecting [Cruz's] return at the beginning of the year, and if he can’t return at the beginning of the year, then we’re going to have to make a decision.” Of course, this isn’t the first time White has hinted at possibly stripping Cruz of his crown. White expressed the same “we’ve got to make a decision” sentiment back in March. However, White had a chat with Cruz the following month and was convinced to let “The Dominator” keep his moniker because he would be back in action sooner rather than later. Although, if Cruz suffered another major setback in recovery, then that would be a different story. Cruz hasn’t defended his belt since posting a unanimous decision win over Demetrious Johnson in October 2011. He had his broken left index finger operated on in January 2012 and then went straight into his coaching duties on “The Ultimate Fighter: Live.” He was slated to complete his trilogy with Urijah Faber at UFC 148 prior to blowing out his knee. Faber, who was coaching opposite Cruz in the reality show, then dropped a lopsided unanimous decision to Renan Barao for the interim bantamweight crown in July. Barao looks to make his second successful title defense later this month at UFC 165 against Eddie Wineland. As far as Barao is concerned, he’s been the division’s king since collecting his first title defense. “Certainly, Dominick’s been out awhile. It’s going to be two years now,” said Barao. “I mean no disrespect to him, but from the moment I won this belt, and I have defended it once, I’ve considered myself champion for certain.”

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

MMA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker