Bantamweight Dominick Cruz may be the UFC champion but some bad timing combined with a series of injures have kept “The Dominator” out of the Octagon since a win over Demetrious Johnson in October 2011. Cruz is currently in the process of rehabbing the second of two consecutive ACL tears and is still hopeful he’ll see action again before year’s end.

If he suffers a setback and needs more time to heal it is entirely possible the UFC will consider stripping him of the strap and naming interim title-holder Renan Barao as the undisputed king of the 135-pound division. Though Cruz would certainly be disappointed by the development, the 27-year old’s concerns are more health-related woes rather than relating to the loss of gold.

“I can’t worry about the belt. It’s really not my position to decide whether I keep it because I’ve been injured or whether Dana White takes it or whether Barao has it. The belt is there. The bottom line is me getting healthy so I can go out there and do what I do best which is prove why I am where I am today,” said Cruz in an interview with MMAPrime. “I’m not here by accident. I work hard to be there I’m at and I’m working hard in therapy to make sure I return to form as soon as possible. That’s the goal.”

“Nobody wants to wait including me,” Cruz concluded after talking about how difficult the entire process had been. “I don’t want to have to wait but I don’t really have a choice at this point other than to take my time and come back strong.”

Cruz is 19-1 in his career with past wins over Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgensen, and Urijah Faber.