The future of the UFC’s bantamweight division became slightly clearer last night when Dana White addressed the status of injured champion Dominick Cruz and rival challenger Urijah Faber. According to the UFC President, Cruz will be out for approximately nine months based on his recent ACL tear though he’ll remain in his role as a coach on the current season of the Ultimate Fighter.

With Cruz out of the picture until at least the first quarter of 2013, and having already missed the past nine months due to a hand injury as well as TUF, White explained the organization will create an interim title to keep things going at 135 pounds with Faber serving as one of the two contenders. “The California Kid” will compete at UFC 148 as expected though the typically outspoken executive stopped short of revealing who his opponent would be.

Currently the men believed to be the most likely options in order of relevance are Renan Barao, Michael McDonald, and Ivan Menjivar. Barao is almost certainly the organization’s first choice, as well as Faber’s, with a 28-1 record and his only loss occurring in his professional debut more than seven years ago. Comparably, McDonald (15-1) is coming off an impressive knockout of Miguel Torres at UFC 145 and has eight straight victories, while Menjivar (24-8) is a seasoned veteran with a trio of triumphs in his last three outings.

No information was provided in terms of when Faber’s opponent will be announced.