UFC 178’s two comeback kids, Dominick Cruz and Cat Zingano have both earned themselves title shots in their respective weight classes after impressive returns to action in the Octagon last night.
First up came former bantamweight champion Cruz who has been out of action for three years with career threatening knee injuries, yet still managed to produce a stunning 61 second TKO victory against Takeya Mizugaki last night.
For a fighter who’s well known for winning by decision it was remarkable to see him take out a battle-hardened veteran like Mizugaki, who was unbeaten in his four previous bouts, so quickly and decisively with absolutely no sign of ring rust whatsoever.
As such, in the aftermath of last night’s show UFC President Dana White confirmed that Cruz will now get the next title shot against current champion TJ Dillashaw, and it would be hard to argue against that given that ‘The Dominator’ didn’t lose the title in the first place, he was forced to give it up by the UFC due to the length of time he’d been out injured for.
“He’s the guy,” White confirmed to reporters at the post-fight press conference.
Also making a stellar comeback last night was Cat Zingano who coincidentally may be second only to Cruz in terms of her run of bad luck in recent years – having to abandon a title shot and TUF coaching gig opposite Ronda Rousey in 2013 due to serious knee surgery, and then suffering the loss of her husband and coach by suicide earlier this year.
Zingano put her troubles behind her last night, though not before her opponent Amanda Nunes put her in serious danger with a first round shellacking on the mat. After all she’s endured Zingano was not going to be denied though and by the end of the round it was she who was on top, and from then on it was she who was in control, eventually stopping Nunes by ground and pound early in the third round.
Afterwards Dana White told reporters that Zingano actually came right up to him and shouted, “Do you see me? Do you see me?”
“This was the shut up about the Gina Carano fight,” White said. “I think that’s the statement Cat wanted to make tonight, and she made it loud and clear.”
“She’s been out a while. She had some injuries. She was dealing with some personal problems. She is back. I think the fans needed to see her, and she needed to remind everybody why she was in line for a title shot. She did it tonight,” White added.
As a result, Zingano is now expected to fight current champion Ronda Rousey at UFC 182 on January 3rd, where it would serve as the co-main event to the much talked about Jon Jones Vs Daniel Cormier light-heavyweight title encounter.