It turns out former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has something in common with longtime rival Urijah Faber: While both are UFC pay-per-view mainstays, neither fighter is afraid to be on the feature bout of the FOX Sports 1 preliminary card on a PPV event.
Cruz makes his return to action on Sept. 27, when he meets Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178 in Las Vegas. But with one of the year's deepest cards only getting deeper with Tuesday's announcement of a Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez co-main event, something has to give, and it has been announced that Cruz vs. Mizugaki will end up in the final spot of the FS1 broadcast.
"FS1 is in 90 million households," Cruz told Helwani via text. "It did 735k viewers on my teammate Ross Pearson's fight. At this point with the last two-plus years off, I'm just pumped to FINALLY be in there fighting again, period."
The bout with Mizugaki (20-7-2) will mark the first time Cruz has fought since Oct. 2011, when he defended his bantamweight title against current flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson.
Since then, injuries and training setbacks have kept Cruz out of the Octagon, and led to him being stripped of the title when he had to pull out of a unification bout with then-interim champ Renan Barao at UFC 169.
In the meantime, Cruz (19-1) has distinguished himself as a knowledgeable commentator in the FOX Sports broadcast booth. So in addition to being glad to simply fight anywhere, he sees the FS1 bout as an opportunity to give back to the team.
"My team at FOX Sports has been with me through this entire injury ,witnessing me go crazy watching each and every fight card," Cruz said. "Now I get to go show them, alongside the rest of the world, how I can fight. It's not a downfall in any way at this point in the fight world to be on prelims anymore with these kind of views that FOX gets. It's my pleasure, and I'm absolutely PUMPED to just compete again!"