Dominick Cruz, Renan Barao, UFC on FUEL TV 7Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz reported that he suffered his third ACL injury this week. Cruz missed the equivalent of three years with the first two injuries. However, he was finally able to heal and return to action this past September at UFC 178 to destroying Takeya Mizugaki in 61 seconds. It was thought that Cruz would be able to fight for the belt he never lost (he relinquished the title because he wasn’t able to defend it).

The first two ACL injuries occurred in the same knee, but the third ACL injury occurred in the opposite knee. The news of this third injury had many fans and pundits calling for his retirement. He has had a very successful MMA career (20-1) and seems to have been able to transition into the TV side of things as an MMA analyst without any problems. However, I feel that Cruz still has a lot to give to the sport as a fighter in a somewhat shallow division.

Here are three reasons why Cruz should keep fighting even after suffering a devastating third ACL injury:

  • Cruz will not be 30 years old until March 2015
  • Cruz is fighting in a shallow bantamweight division and will most likely get an immediate title shot upon his return
  • Recovering from three ACL injuries isn’t unprecedented as Carolina Panther’s linebacker Thomas Davis has done it

The fact that Cruz has a record of (20-1) before he’s 30 years old while missing three years of active competition is mind boggling. His arch nemesis Urjah Faber is almost six years older and is still fighting at a very high level, and 30 years old is just too young for a fighter to call it a career even after such devastating injuries.

The fact that Cruz is fighting in a shallow weight class also helps things, not to mention he’ll likely get an immediate title shot upon his return. The UFC is struggling to find a suitable opponent for current UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw due to injuries to come contenders. There is a built in angle to build a fight with Dillashaw with Cruz openly talking smack about Team Alpha Male, and Dillashaw’s training partner Urijah Faber. I think Cruz knowing he could get an immediate title shot would be added incentive to give it a go one more time.

Carolina Panther linebacker Thomas Davis has torn the SAME ACL THREE different times, and has been able to return and set a career high in tackles in 2013. He’s just a year older than Dominick Cruz and plays a position where there’s a great deal of contact. The fact that he has been able to overcome these injuries should give hope to Cruz that it’s not the end of the world.

Cruz stated that he plans to recover and continue fighting this week and I think that’s the right decision. I don’t think he would be able to live with himself if he were to call it quits at such a young age.

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