Cruz: Rehab is going really well

Cruz has a long history of ACL problems and was out of action for nearly three years after rupturing the ACL in his right knee twice. 

But he was able to bounce back from the double blow and even went on to beat Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178 in September 2014. 

However, just when it seemed that his career was back on track, Cruz tore the ACL in his left knee and was forced to pull out of his fight with current champion T.J. Dillashaw.

Cruz had his left knee surgically repaired in January and is already raring to return to the Octagon. 

"Rehab's going really well," Cruz told FOX Sports. "I'm pretty happy with how things are going just because with the other knee there were so many little things here and there that were giving me problems. What I learned is that first surgery going straight into that second surgery, really ate me alive, my whole body. 

"The fact that I'm only going through one surgery this time I feel great. I'm very optimistic. I think I'll be back much faster than I was before for sure."

Since ACL injuries usually keep athletes sidelined for about a year, Cruz is targeting a comeback fight at the end of 2015. 

"Is it realistic? I believe it is," he said. "Am I going to say that I'm going to do it?  I'm only two months into rehab and I need wait a little bit longer before I make a statement like that because right now I'm in the portion where I need the tendon to transform into ACL tissue. They took my patella tendon and now what happens is I'm in the very crucial part of healing, which my tendon is like a piece of Swiss cheese.

"So what happens is your body perforates your tendon, cause they took a piece of my patella tendon out and put it in my ACL so your body has to transform that tissue into actual ACL tissue. So it perforates it, turns it into Swiss cheese, puts a bunch of blood flow into it until it transforms it into an ACL tendon and then it becomes strong and it take a minimum of four months for it to get to that point. All you can do during that time is try to build back from the atrophy that took place and get your range of motion perfect and your balance perfect."

Cruz will now continue with his rehab and is hoping to start training towards the beginning of summer. 

"I'm looking at about four months (rehab)," he said. "And then from there I'll be able to give everyone a more definitive answer."