Cain Valesquez

The UFC’s plans for the coming year have suffered a blow as news emerges that their heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez is expected to be out until late 2014 after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Velasquez suffered a torn labrum on his left shoulder during his dominant victory over Junior Dos Santos back in September, but initially the hope was that he wouldn’t require surgery.

However, three months later doctor’s finally decided that he would need to go under the knife, which he did on Tuesday and now he begins the long recovery process.

According to Dana White it’ll take six months for the champ to heal up, and then he’ll require a lengthy training camp to get back to full fitness, and so that puts his return sometime in the fall of next year if all goes well.

This isn’t the first time Velasquez has had issues with his shoulders – he also had to undergo surgery after damaging his right rotator cuff in 2011 which also required a lengthy layoff.

Velasquez being out certainly provides the UFC with some unwanted headaches. For one thing, they had been hoping to have Velasquez ready to front their first ever Mexican event early next year, but are now likely to scrap that plan entirely for the time being.

Also, with lightweight champion Anthony Pettis also expected to be out for a large chunk of 2014 and welterweight superstar Georges St.Pierre potentially taking an undetermined length of time off for personal reasons, the UFC are going to be a little light on star power which is far from ideal as they head into a year where they are expecting to ramp up their already busy schedule considerably.

That’s going to mean they’ll have place extra importance on No.1 contender bouts instead, and White has indicated that Fabricio Werdum will now likely challenge the winner of the upcoming Josh Barnett Vs Travis Browne fight to determine who fights Velasquez when he returns.