It looks like the “interim” tag in front of bantamweight Renan Barao’s championship will likely be removed in the coming days, as linear title-holder Dominick Cruz will be out another 6-9 months on top of the time he’s already missed after tearing his ACL in training. The talented 135er’s latest run in with injury relates to the same issue, as the ligament he was initially given was rejected by his body and had to be replaced with another.

Word of Cruz’s status was first reported by MMAJunkie where trainer Eric Del Fierro summed up his client’s state of mind by saying, “He’s pissed and disappointed.”

Cruz has not defended his belt since October 2011. He was set to put his gold on the line against Urijah Faber after facing off as opposing coaches on the Ultimate Fighter but shredded his knee during the final build towards the bout.

Barao won the interim strap by beating Faber in July. He has been linked to a match-up with Michael McDonald in early 2013, a fight made even more important in the wake of Cruz’s misfortune.