On Saturday, a previous champion will compete again in front of his hometown fans.
Dominick Cruz, who previously held the UFC bantamweight title and has a record of 24-3 in mixed martial arts and 7-2 in the UFC, will compete against Marlon Vera, who has a record of 21-7-1 in mixed martial arts and 13-6 in the UFC, in the main event of UFC on ESPN 41. Cruz will do so in front of a supportive crowd in San Diego, where he trains.
Cruz went 2-0 in 2021. However, the fact that he was able to participate in two bouts should be considered something of a success on his part. Since 2016, this was the first year in which he participated in several bouts inside the same calendar year. Because of injuries, he didn’t compete at all from the time he lost the bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt in December 2016 and the time he sought to regain it against Henry Cejudo in May 2020. During that period, the title was held by Cody Garbrandt.
Cruz may be able to stake a legitimate claim to a spot back in the running for the championship if he can string together three victories in a row, especially if he has finally gotten past the obstacle posed by his injuries. In his approximately 11 and a half years in the UFC, he has participated in only nine fights.
He will face a surging opponent in Vera, whose career includes victories over Sean O’Malley, Rob Font in April, and a former lightweight champion named Frankie Edgar. Vera’s fight will take place on May 5. He is currently riding a three-fight win streak that has earned him post-fight bonuses in each of the bouts.