Before the official announcement was released on UFC.com, Dana White confirmed with NBC Sports’ Ariel Helwani that UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz will defend his title against Demitrious Johnson at UFC on Versus 6 on Oct. 1, which was recently confirmed for Washington DC.
“Cruz cemented his claim as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport with an exciting win over Urijah Faber at UFC 132,” White said. “He beat the one guy who had beaten him – he got the monkey off his back – and a lot of people think he’s going to go on to be unstoppable now.
“But he’ll be fighting maybe the one guy in the division who is faster than him. Johnson’s speed has seen him beat 10 of his 11 opponents, including a win over former champion Miguel Torres. The first Bantamweight Title fight in UFC history was the Fight of the Night – and the second one could be even better.”
It’s extremely rare to see the UFC put a title fight on free television. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the last time they did it was when Rampage Jackson defended his title against Dan Henderson at UFC 75 on Spike. Like then, this seems to be a move about exposure. The lighter weight classes are still very new to the UFC and word is UFC 132 may not have even broke 300,000 pay-per-view buys with the WEC’s biggest star and last bantamweight champion in the main event. As familiar as fighters like Urijah Faber, Dominick Cruz, Jose Aldo and Miguel Torres are to you and me, the casual fan base that makes up most of the UFC’s audience is just getting to know them. Building stars takes time and exposure, so it shouldn’t be that much of a shock to see Cruz return to Versus to defend his title.
While we’re on the topic, Urijah Faber has also been booked for an upcoming event. The UFC also announced this evening that he’ll take on former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles at UFC 139 in San Jose.
“Before a possible trilogy can be considered between Urijah Faber and his rival, Champion Dominick Cruz, he will take on one of the division’s truly elite fighters, former Bantamweight Champion Brian Bowles,” said UFC President Dana White. “A win over Faber would be massive for Bowles’ bid to challenge for the belt that was once his. The stakes are high and the fight will be intense.”
Should be a great fight, and if you read between the lines, it sounds like a title shot could be waiting for the winner.