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Emotional Dominick Cruz explains how he re-injured his knee

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Todd Warshaw

In the Octagon, Dominick Cruz has been "The Dominator," a fighter who defeats his opponents with a machine-like precision.

But on Tuesday's edition of Fuel TV's UFC Tonight, the UFC bantamweight champion showed his human side.

Cruz recently suffered a setback in the rehab of his torn left ACL, which required a second surgery on the knee. That means he'll be out of action for at least another year. Appearing via Skype, the fighter from San Diego's Alliance MMA came close to breaking down as he explained what the fans' support has meant to him in recent days.

"I had my couple days of crybaby time per se," Cruz said. I allowed myself to be mad and be sad and be depressed. And, you know, you reach this stage and there's no point, I've seen these tweets and it's been nonstop since the news broke. I would say 95 percent of the tweets are very positive and very uplifting and they have your back."

Cruz had to pause and regain his composure as he got the next sentence out: "If the fans out there could know how much that helps me, thank you guys so much ... I do this for you guys and I'm in a hurt spot right now."

The champion has not fought since he defeated Demetrious Johnson on Oct. 1, 2011, which ran his career record to 19-1. Cruz tore his knee in May while training for a title defense against Urijah Faber and underwent his first surgery in June. Tuesday, Cruz explained that the setback occurred during a routine boxing drill.

"I was going in with the guy I was training with many times, all the time and we were moving, we were doing 50 percent movement drills with each other where basically working with each other shadow boxing ... And on the mat that I was on, with my brace, I don't know man, I was moving and I went to hit a pivot, and the tissue just popped, I had some thoughts like, no way [this happened] just moving, because I've done so much more than that in [physical therapy] with my PT guy. I was shocked that it happened and it just popped."

So Cruz has to sit back and wait while interim champion Renan Barao gets set to defend his belt against Michael McDonald. The champion again thanked the fans for their support before signing off.

"The love that I get from the fans right now is really keeping me up and keeping my optimistic. The glass is full right now, the fans want to see me back and that means everything to me."