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UFC 169: White Says Cruz May Have “Dragged” Out Return

On February 1st, UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz will fight for the first time in over two years, when he takes on interim champ Renan Barao at UFC 169. While the promotion and thousands of fans are thrilled that Cruz is finally returning to the Octagon, Dana White believes the highly regarded fighter could have come back sooner.

While speaking to the media Thursday in advance of this Saturday’s UFC 167 card, here is some of what White had to say while discussing Cruz’s comeback (comments via MMA

“I shouldn’t say this, but I will, because this is what I f— do to myself,” White said. “I think that Cruz has kind of been stalling. I think Cruz has dragged this out longer than needed to be.”

“I think he’s working extra hard on working off the ring rust,” White noted. “Doing the things, that, this just came to our attention a few weeks ago, that Cruz possibly could have fought much sooner. Which makes the fight even more interesting.”

White made it clear, however, that he’s not angry with Cruz, as the outspoken executive also noted “I don’t f— blame him. Do you want to take two years off and then face Renan Barao?” No, not too many fighters would. The UFC President believes Cruz has stalled a little bit to work off the “ring rust.” Cruz hasn’t fought now since October, 2011, as a result of having two knee surgeries.

As White also noted, Barao is currently riding a 32 fight undefeated streak and hasn’t been defeated since his pro debut. That was way back in 2005.

Of course, as the UFC boss man pointed out as well, Mr. Cruz has won 10 straight and hasn’t lost since 2007. During that run the champion has defeated notable opposition in the likes of Urijah Faber, Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall, amongst others. Thus this is why Cruz-Barao has the potential to be an instant classic.

UFC 169 will be hosted by the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  Stay tuned to for all your UFC news and coverage.