UFC officials announced the 135-pound matchup on Wednesday. UFC 219 will take place at T-Mobile Arena.
Cruz (22-2) hasn't fought since he surrendered the title to Cody Garbrandt in a decision loss in December. The 32-year-old was limited to just one appearance between 2012 and 2015 due to injuries but enjoyed an active, three-fight campaign in 2016.
Fighting out of San Diego, Cruz is widely considered the best bantamweight of all time.
Rivera (21-1) will ride an outrageous 20-fight win streak into the contest, which includes five victories inside the UFC. He specifically called out Cruz following his last fight, a three-round decision over Thomas Almeida in July.