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Dominick Cruz: “I’m so far from being cleared.”

Dominick Cruz - UFC 132With a successful showing from UFC interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao earlier this month, the topic of linear title-holder Dominick Cruz’s health has come up once again in relation to when “The Dominator” will return after tearing his ACL twice (with the second occurring during rehab from the first). In total, Cruz has been shelved since October 2011 with the bulk of the time off due to injuries, leaving many fans to wonder when – or if – the 27-year old will ever make his way back into the Octagon.

Cruz provided an update on his condition to Sherdog Radio where the news wasn’t necessarily positive on the surface but at least an indicator that he’s taking the right approach to healing up rather than rushing things out of anxiety.

“I miss competing. I haven’t been able to do it in a while and it hurts,” Cruz admitted. “But there’s nothing I can really do except sit on my hands and wait for this knee. I know it’s going to be fine. I know I’m going to heal OK. I know I’m going to be in there. I just have to do my time and wait, and that’s the hardest part. I don’t have a whole lot of patience.”

“I’m so far from being cleared,” he continued. “I go see the doctor again and they just cleared me to start running. I’m just running – that’s it. I can’t grapple, I can’t kickbox, I can’t box or anything like that yet. I’ve just got to build my body up slowly.”

However, though Cruz may be somewhat immobile, that doesn’t mean he is staying idle.

“The way people are picturing it, I have a feeling, is I’m going to be completely out of the gym, not doing anything and then all of a sudden I’m hopping into a camp. I don’t operate that way. I’ve never operated that way. I would almost put money on it that I’m in better shape than a lot of people that are active fighters right now,” said Cruz confidently. “I’m very active. I’m still doing tons of bike work. I’m still doing tons of upper body strength work. I’m working on everything I can around this knee, including working that knee and the muscles around that leg in order to come back as strong as ever.”

The 19-1 Cruz wasn’t able to provide a targeted date for his return though it is expected to take place in the next 6-9 months. It is unknown if Barao will defend his belt again before meeting Cruz, though UFC President Dana White has confirmed Cruz won’t be stripped of his gold unless forced to retire based on his problematic knee.