Multiple Fights Available For New Bantamweight Champion

Published on January 19th, 2016 10:11 am EST

Dominick Cruz regained his familiar spot at the top of the UFC's Bantamweight division this past Sunday night, as the "Dominator" took a split decision victory over TJ Dillashaw to win the Bantamweight title. While there was some controversy with the decision, most people seem to be of the opinion that the judges got it right.

With Cruz's victory, a number of potential fights present themselves. First things first, however, as Cruz says that he is going to talk to the UFC about "getting paid". UFC salaries, especially for champions, have escalated over the past 3-4 years, and Cruz, who sat on the sidelines for a number of years while rehabbing his injured knee, wants his piece of the pie.

Here are the three fights that the UFC will likely choose from when deciding Cruz's next opponent:

1) Urijah Faber - this is the obvious fight to make, as the two men were originally supposed to square off in their rubber match at UFC 148. Cruz hurt his knee, however, and the third fight between the two men never happened. With Faber now sitting as one of the top contenders in the division, the UFC will likely make Faber vs Cruz next. The two men hate each other, which makes the fight an easy sell for the UFC.

2) TJ Dillashaw - the UFC could go the route of the immediate re-match, though this seems unlikely. While the decision was somewhat controversial, it was certainly not a robbery. I would expect that the UFC will make Dillashaw win a couple more fights before he gets another shot at the Bantamweight title.

3) Demetrious Johnson - the Flyweight champion is one of the most dominant champions in the UFC right now and is currently in the midst of a long winning streak. Nobody in the Flyweight division is really a threat to Johnson at this point, which may result in Johnson electing to move up to Bantamweight to take on Cruz. While this fight would certainly pit two of the UFC's best fighters against each other, would the promotion want to remove a dominant champion from a division and move him up to where there are multiple challengers for the title? I don't think that the UFC will end up going this route.

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Cruz is suffering from a foot injury right now, which means that he may be off for a while. I do expect, however, that the UFC will do the Faber vs Cruz III fight next, likely as the co-main event of one of their biggest cards.


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