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Urijah Faber steps in for Dominick Cruz to fight Renan Barao at UFC 169

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According to a Jan. 6 report from MMA Fighting, UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (19-1) has been forced to withdraw from the title fight he was scheduled to have against hard-hitting Brazilian standout Renan Barao (31-1-1).

UFC president Dana White announced that Cruz had a "grade two or three" tear of the groin, and that BarĂ£o's title would become the undisputed UFC bantamweight title.

Cruz, 28, has been sidelined since late-2011 due to a series of knee injuries.

In 2012, he also suffered an ACL injury that forced him out of a scheduled fight opposite Team Alpha Male standout Urijah Faber.

Barao, 26, will now defend his belt against Faber (30-6) on Feb. 1 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Faber and Barao already fought once, all the way back in July of 2012 at UFC 149 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The fight went the distance, and Barao earned the victory via unanimous decision.

Barao vs. Faber will serve as the main event of UFC 169, with Jose Aldo fighting Ricardo Lamas in the co-main slot.

Faber has already had two UFC title shots, and he lost in both contests.

Faber lost to Cruz at UFC 132 in 2011, and he also lost to Barao in a fight for the UFC's interim bantamweight belt in 2012.

Since that loss, Faber has gone on a four-fight win streak, including victories over Scott Jorgensen and Michael McDonald.

As for Barao, he hasn't lost since 2005.

No word yet on how long Cruz will be out for with his latest injury.

Fortunately, he's still young enough to recover and have a lengthy MMA career.

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