Dominick Cruz has a grizzly stitched incision on his right hand.
While post-fight accounts reported that Cruz had broken his hand during the bout, the champion clarified the injury when we caught up with him before his surgery.
“I have a tendon that is separating from my knuckle on my right hand. If I would have broken it, it actually would have healed faster then this injury.”
The San Diego resident traveled to Chicago last week for the operation. The process was more complicated than the “set and cast” a simple break would have warranted.
“It’s a tendon that rolls, and the only way to fix it is to drill a hole through my knuckle and then tie it all down and get it all clamped together and hold my knuckle back together,” Cruz said, explaining a procedure he is becoming quite familiar with.
He had the same experience with his opposite hand, and underwent a similar procedure to correct the issue following his final WEC title defense against Scott Jorgensen a little under one year ago. The self-described “gym rat” known for his intense training camps doesn’t intend for this injury to slow him down.
“I did this surgery once on my left hand, and last time I was unable to punch for at least 10 weeks. But I’ll be training everything around that; I just won’t be able to punch.”
While Cruz may be sidelined and forced into modified training for the next few months, it will only be a few short weeks before the identity of his next challenger will be determined. Former WEC champions Brian Bowles and Urijah Faber are scheduled to meet at UFC 139 in San Jose, and the winner will most likely become the #1 bantamweight contender, earning the next opportunity to strip the belt away from “The Dominator.”
Cruz is familiar with both opponents. He defeated Bowles for the bantamweight title back at WEC 47 in March 2010, then avenged the lone loss of his career by defeating Faber at UFC 132 earlier this year.
When breaking down the contest, Cruz gives Bowles the edge standing, though he has some concerns, but ultimately favors Faber, predicting his wrestling skills may dominate their meeting.
“I think Bowles has a very threatening style on his feet (when he’s) standing with Faber because he throws heat, and he sits down on his punches, and he’s got a good style. But I also think that he’s real worried about his hands. I think that’s kinda taken away from the — he might be a little nervous to let that right hand go when that’s his power punch and that’s his knockout punch.
“And hopefully for himself he can just go out there and not worry about his right hand, and go out there and be happy to punch Faber in the face. I think he’ll give Faber a lot harder of a time if he can go out there and do that.
“That being said, I see Faber going out there and being able to take down Bowles when he wants to for the most part, and just being able to go out there and beat up Bowles on the ground to be honest. That’s just pretty much how I see that fight”
When asked who he would rather face, Cruz was diplomatic with his response.
“I don’t have a preference, really. I just want to fight who deserves the next shot. And those two throwing down will make them deserve it.”