UFC Title Fight Coming to Boston in January

T.J. Dillashaw will square off with Dominick Cruz in a long awaited bout.

T.J. Dillashaw vs Renan Barão in 2015. Via AP

T.J. Dillashaw vs Renan Barão in 2015. Via AP

The Ultimate Fighting Championship will return to Boston in January for an event that will likely be dubbed UFC Fight Night 81.

UFC President Dana White said on Fox Sports 1 on Wednesday, that the January 17 fight card will be topped by a highly anticipated bantamweight title fight between champion T.J. Dillashaw (12-2) and former champ Dominick Cruz (20-1). The bout will be Dillashaw’s third title defense since taking the belt from Renan Barão in May 2014.

The rest of the fight card has not been set.

Dillishaw was the runner up on The Ultimate Fighter 14 as a member of Michael Bisping’s team. Since entering the UFC, Dillishaw has lost only twice while Cruz’s only career defeat came at the hands of UFC legend and current Ultimate Fighter coach Urijah Faber in the old WEC promotion. Cruz was a coach on the Ultimate Fighter 15.

During his appearance on Fox Sports 1, White called the planned main event a “superfight.”

“The superfight for T.J. right now is Cruz. Cruz has never been beat and really is still the champion. He got stripped of the title because he can’t stay healthy,” said White.

Cruz won the title in 2011 when he defeated Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, who has reigned as the UFC flyweight champion sine 2012. During his stint as a coach on Ultimate Fighter 15, Cruz suffered an ACL tear, an injury that marked a long period of health struggles.

He experienced complications for over a year before tearing his groin while training in 2014. Cruz made a triumphant return to the UFC after a three year absence with a strong knockout win over Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178.

The January fight will be the fourth ever UFC event in Boston. The UFC first held in an event in Boston in 2010 after the state athletic commission formally recognized mixed marital arts, a crucial legal recognition the UFC had sought for years around the country. Ticket information, along with the rest of the fight card, will be released at a later date