UFC president Dana White, appearing on Monday's ESPN "SportsCenter," confirmed news of a groin tear for Cruz. In his place will step Urijah Faber to face Barao.
The card takes place February 1 from Newark, New Jersey. The co-main event features UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo meeting Ricardo Lamas.
Faber (30-6) and Barao (31-1) met before, with the Brazilian scoring a decision victory and the interim title in the process in 2012. Since that loss, "The California Kid" has earned three submissions and a decision, including a recent victory over Michael McDonald last month.
Barao has posted back-to-back stoppage wins over McDonald and Eddie Wineland in title defenses.
"Renan Barao's been tearing through everybody," White remarked. "But Faber's been on a tear, too, with four straight wins against the best in the world."
Cruz (19-1) has been sidelined for more than two years with knee issues. He was set to meet Faber back after the two coached opposite one another on The Ultimate Fighter.
Short URL: http://winc.cc/2u2pG3
GFW Live Event Results From Richmond (8/29): Kevin Nash Run-In, Sonjay Dutt, Jeff Jarrett, More
WWE Live Event Results From San Juan (8/29): Chris Jericho, Teams Show Respect, Roman Reigns, More
ROH Live Event Results From Atlanta (8/29): Six-Man Main Event, The Briscoes, Moose, More
WWE Live Event Results From Orlando (8/29): John Cena Headlines, NXT Superstars, Miz TV, More
Big Matches Added To Monday's WWE RAW
WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Pre-sale Password, Rare Roddy Piper Audio Revealed, NXT UK Tour Update
Image Of Two TNA Knockouts Shown At WWE Live Event Saturday Night
Backstage Talk On The Undertaker Vs. Brock Lesnar Finish From WWE SummerSlam
Steve Austin Talks Getting Chewed Out By Vince McMahon After Brock Lesnar Talk, WrestleMania 32
WWE Monday Night RAW To Be Postponed Again Due To Storm? Arena Issues Statement
Nikki Bella Responds To Reports?, More On WWE's New John Cena Book, Road Warrior Animal Speaks
Possible Singles Action On RAW, WWE Not Advertising Sting, Dolph Ziggler Talks Patch Error