Major UFC Title Fight Canceled Due to Injury, Replacement Announced
One of the biggest title fights of the year so far is now off the table following a major injury.
Former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez has suffered a back injury, meaning he must back out of his rematch against Fabricio Wedum, who defeated him for the UFC championship back at UFC 188 in Mexico City last June. The upcoming rematch was scheduled to take place at UFC 196 on Feb. 6 in Las Vegas, but it’s looking like Velasquez will have to wait to get another shot at Werdum. And it’s uncertain just how long, since there is currently no timeframe for when Velasquez is expected to return.
As a result, UFC president Dana White announced that #2 ranked Stipe Miocic will take Velasquez’s place. Miocic, who is 8-2 in UFC, was promised a title match after his first-round knock out of Andrei Arlovski at UFC 195 earlier this month, so the replacement opponent isn’t a huge shock, necessarily. However, this is a bit of a good news/bad news situation for Miocic: on the one hand, he’s getting his title shot earlier than anticipated; on the other hand, he’s stepping up on two-weeks notice. Of course, it’s two-weeks notice for Werdum as well, since the champ has been training for a completely different opponent, and will have to switch gears accordingly. It seems like a pretty daunting challenge for both men. That said, Miocic appears more than up to the task.
“Gotta grab opportunity when it comes knocking,” Miocic wrote on Twitter after Dana White made the announcement. He would go on to assure his fans he’ll be in fighting shape when the match comes:
Haven't stopped training. https://t.co/YpWkJb0K5c
— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocicufc) January 25, 2016
This is looking like it could be a hell of a fight. And it’s got a great story behind it, since Miocic could potentially go from becoming No. 2 contender to becoming the champion all in the span of a single month. It should be interesting to see.
What do you think of Stipe Miocic being named as replacement for Cain Velasquez? Are you looking forward to UFC 196? Sound off in the comments!