UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw is set to defend his belt against former titleholder Dominick Cruz at UFC Fight Night 71 in Boston on Jan. 18, UFC President Dana White announced on UFC Tonight Wednesday.
For the first time in its partnership with FOX, the UFC will host a title fight on FOX Sports 1. The bout will air after one of the NFC divisional playoff games set to air on big FOX.
Dillashaw has gone 4-0 since dropping a split decision to Raphael Assuncao in 2013. The only Team Alpha Male fighter to get his hands on UFC gold, Dillashaw quickly inserted himself into the pound-for-pound conversation after his one-sided defeats of former pound-for-pound great Renan Barao in 2014 and 2015.
Cruz is set to enter the cage in January after the second extended layoff of his professional career. The former champion hasn’t fought since September 2014—his first bout in nearly three years. Both periods on the shelf stemmed from numerous injuries. Winning the WEC bantamweight title against Brian Bowles in 2010, Cruz went on to become the UFC titleholder after Zuffa bought out the defunct promotion. He also serves as one of two men to defeat UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Might Mouse” Johnson.
Two elite fighters who share unique fighting styles, Dillashaw vs. Cruz is set to take hold of many headlines in the months to come.