UFC president Dana White provided updates on a number of subjects during his post-fight media scrum this past weekend following UFC on FOX 11 from Orlando.
White discussed the possible return of Dominick Cruz, and who the ex-UFC bantamweight champion could fight, the prospect of Rich Franklin working for ONE FC and why it’s taken so long to bring a card to Mexico.
Cruz, who was stripped of the title after suffering a groin injury earlier this year, has not fought since a 2011 decision victory over Demetrious Johnson. “The Dominator” has undergone two knee surgeries in the past three years, along with taking time off to coach The Ultimate Fighter against rival Urijah Faber.
“I have heard nothing from Dominick Cruz,” White said. “I don’t think after this much of a layoff, that throwing him in there for (a title) fight (would be good).”
White, though, quickly added that he would respect the wishes of Cruz if that’s what he desired, adding, “if he wants to come right back and fight (Renan Barao), we would do it. I just think Barao is nasty.”
Barao was declared the undisputed champion prior to successfully defeating Faber earlier this year. He won the interim title over Faber after Cruz went down with his knee injury.
Franklin, a former UFC middleweight champion, is headed to Asia to meet with ONE FC and discuss an executive role. He stated previously that White and Lorenzo Fertitta gave their blessing, and White confirmed that.
“He’s still under contract to fight with us if he ever wanted to fight, but he got offered a really good opportunity to go work with those guys,” he said. “I’m happy for him.”
White made sure to take a few shots at other past UFC fighters in the process, saying, “There is nothing wrong (with taking another job) if you come and ask. It’s the sneaky guys who lie to your face…..”
He also said that they would find a fight for “Ace” if he decided to compete one final time. Franklin still has a bout left on his deal, but has not fought since a 2012 loss to Cung Le.
The current plans have UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez returning to action this fall and meeting No. 1 contender Fabricio Werdum in Mexico. White stated over the weekend that details for The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America remain unset, but Velasquez and Werdum seem like strong choices for coaching spots.
Getting the UFC into Mexico has been more of a headache for White than he ever imagined, saying, “I used to talk about where we wanted to go, but I didn’t know what I know no. It’s a lot tougher than I thought.”
He said television deals have been worked out and he’s “really excited about (the Mexico card). “It’s going to be a home run.”
Front-Page Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea