The Dominator is back.
Former two-time bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will return to the Octagon for the first time in more than two years when he takes on John Lineker at UFC 233 on Jan. 26 at Honda Center a UFC source confirmed.
Tickets for UFC 233 go on sale Dec. 14. With 11 fights confirmed, the Anaheim card is nearing capacity, with the superfight between bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw and 125-pound champion Henry Cejudo for Cejudo’s flyweight title expected to be the main event.
Cruz (22-2), who has been working as a UFC analyst for Fox Sports, tipped his Twitter followers to his return Tuesday.
— Dominick Cruz (@DominickCruz) December 5, 2018
Ranked No. 2 in the division, Cruz, 33, began his second reign as the UFC 135-pound champion nearly three years ago with a split-decision win over Dillashaw. Cruz (18-2) hasn’t fought since losing the title via unanimous decision to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 on Dec. 30, 2016.
Dillashaw won back the belt 13 months ago with a second-round TKO of Garbrandt at UFC 217, then successfully defended it with a first-round TKO of Garbrandt in their rematch at UFC 227 in August at Staples Center.
Fighting out of Alliance MMA in Chula Vista, Cruz was forced out of a showdown with Jimmie Rivera a year ago due to an arm injury. The Lineker bout will be only his second non-title fight since 2009.
Ranked No. 6 in the division, Lineker, 28, is coming off a third-round knockout of Brian Kelleher at UFC 224 in May. Lineker (31-8) is 6-1 in the UFC’s bantamweight division after the hard-hitting Brazilian moved up from flyweight due to missing weight four times in eight fights.
Here are the other fights confirmed for UFC 233:
• No. 6 welterweight Robbie Lawler (28-12) vs. Ben Askren (18-0, 1 NC)
• No. 3 flyweight Joseph Benavidez (26-5) vs. No. 5 Deiveson Figueiredo (15-0)
• No. 7 bantamweight Marion Reneau (9-4-1) vs. No. 10 Yana Kunitskaya (11-4)
• No. 10 strawweight Cortney Casey (8-6) vs. No. 12 Cynthia Calvillo (7-1)
• No. 11 lightweight James Vick (13-2) vs. No. 15 Paul Felder (15-4)
• No. 12 lightweight Alexander Hernandez (10-1) vs. No. 13 Francisco Trinaldo (23-6)
• No. 11 flyweight Joanne Calderwood (12-3) vs Ariane Lipski (11-3)
• Middleweights Markus Perez (10-2) vs. Anthony Hernandez (6-0)
• Strawweights Alexandra Albu (7-0) vs. Emily Whitmire (3-2)
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