With just two weeks to go until UFC 196 main event, heavyweight title challenger Cain Velasquez has been forced out of his rematch with current champion Fabricio Werdum due to a back injury.
Reacting swiftly to the news, the UFC have now drafted in Stipe Miocic to fight Werdum instead on the Las Vegas pay-per-view show.
The 33 year-old Miocic is the division’s No.2 contender, one place behind Velasquez, and is coming off TKO wins over Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski in 2015. Prior to that he’d lost a competitive five round battle with former champ Junior dos Santos and holds an 8-2 record overall during his four year stint in the UFC.
Miocic has been pushing for a title shot for some time, but finally getting the chance of a lifetime on such short notice isn’t exactly ideal. However, it seems that he’s ready to take the challenge, stating on Twitter, “Gotta grab opportunity when it comes knocking. #LetsGo,” while also adding, “Haven’t stopped training.”
That’s just as well as he’ll be facing Werdum who at 38 years of age is enjoying the best form of his career, enjoying a six fight unbeaten run in the UFC that’s included victories over the likes of Roy Nelson, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Travis Browne, Mark Hunt, and the jewel in his crown – a third round submission victory over Velasquez in Mexico last June to become the heavyweight champion of the world.
With Werdum Vs Miocic now set the UFC 196 fight card is once again complete and will be backed up by a co-main event featuring Johny Hendricks Vs Stephen Thompson.