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Bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw gunning for February or March return

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the names in place to fight for the UFC's bantamweight title, the only thing left to do is nail down a date.

And according to UFC Tonight, current 135-pound champion T.J. Dillashaw should be ready to face former champion Dominick Cruz as soon as February.

Dillashaw's manager Mike Roberts told Ariel Helwani that Dillashaw is recovering well from his recent elbow surgery, and they are gunning to defend the belt against Cruz in either "February or March."

Dillashaw was suffering from bursitis -- swelling and irritation in the bursa area of his elbow -- after defeating Joe Soto at UFC 177. After attempts to drain his elbow, he elected to corrective surgery on Oct. 17. A little more than a month later, Roberts said that Dillashaw is out of his splint and is running now.

The Team Alpha Male fighter Dillashaw won the bantamweight title in May at UFC 173 against Renan Barao, and later defended it against Joe Soto at UFC 177 in Sacramento. In Cruz, he faces a champion who never ceded his belt through defeat. Cruz was sidelined for nearly three years with a series of injuries -- two ACLs and a groin tear -- thus forcing the UFC to ultimately strip him of the belt.

Cruz successfully returned at UFC 178 in September, where he scored an emphatic 61-second TKO of Japanese fighter, Takeya Mizkugaki, to instantaneously reinsert himself into the title picture.