Dominick Cruz will return to the Octagon since losing his UFC bantamweight title when he faces top contender Jimmie Rivera at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on December 30.
The bout, which forms part of the blockbuster UFC 219 card, will presumably carry title implications and is one Cruz will use to stake his claim for a rematch against Cody Garbrandt, the man who dethroned him last December, or T.J. Dillashaw, the man Garbrandt fights on November 4.
Cruz, 22-2, saw a 13-fight win-streak fall by the wayside against Garbrandt at UFC 207. That aside, though, his MMA career to date has been exemplary and includes wins over the likes of Dillashaw, Urijah Faber, Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez.
Rivera, meanwhile, is 21-1 in his MMA career to date and holds notable wins against the likes of Urijah Faber, Thomas Almeida, Iuri Alcantara and Pedro Munhoz. He has won a staggering 20 fights in a row, having not lost for some eight-and-a-half years.
Also announced for the UFC 219 show in Vegas is a women’s strawweight match between rising Team Alpha Male prospect Cynthia Calvillo, 6-0, and former UFC champion Carla Esparza, 12-4.