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Barao: Cruz Returning Early 2014

Kelsey Mowatt

Renan Barao

Since the UFC continues to fill out the schedule for the rest of 2013, and interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao is set to fight Eddie Wineland on September 21st, Dominick Cruz’s long awaited return doesn’t appear to be imminent. Now Barao has relayed that according to what the “Dominator” recently told him, the bantamweight champ doesn’t plan to fight this year. That’s the unfortunate news most people expected.

Cruz was in attendance at last weekend’s UFC 163 card in Rio de Janeiro, and Barao reportedly talked briefly with the renowned fighter. According to a report from MMA, Barao revealed the following:

“We only exchanged a few words because my English isn’t that good,” Renan said. “He told me he’s returning (to fighting) on February. I was really happy to hear that. I hope he can return so we can finally fight.”

Just as a refresher, Cruz has not fought now since October, 2011, thanks to not one, but two knee surgeries. The 27 year-old fighter has won 10 straight bouts. In the meantime, Barao has been ruling the bantamweight division, and the interim champ had this to say about his upcoming, UFC 165 bout with Wineland.

“My focus now is on Wineland,” he said. “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. 21st.”

That fight should be outstanding, as should either Cruz-Barao or Cruz-Wineland. UFC 165 will take place at Toronto’s Air Canada Center and will feature light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones taking on Alexander Gustafsson in the main event.

Stay tuned to MMA for more on this story and all your UFC news.

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