Former middleweight champion Chris Weidman has been forced out of his rematch with current title holder Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 on June 4th in Los Angeles due to an injury.
With a little over two weeks left until fight night, the UFC are now scrambling to find a suitable replacement to fight Rockhold for the title on short notice, and there’s two potential opponents in particular that immediately spring to mind.
First choice would surely have to be Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza who defeated Vitor Belfort by TKO in the co-main event of UFC 198 on Saturday night, and is currently the No.2 contender in the division behind Weidman.
Souza finished Belfort late in the first round, so it’s possible that he emerged from the fight relatively unscathed, though it’s still to be confirmed if that’s definitely the case, and whether the 36 year-old would be willing to accept a title shot that he’s worked so hard to achieve with so little time to prepare.
If he does so it’d be the second time that ‘Jacare’ has faced Rockhold, with the two having previously squared off for the Strikeforce middleweight title back in September of 2011, with Rockhold defeating him by unanimous decision on that occasion to claim the belt.
The other obvious fighter to take Weidman’s place in the main event of UFC 199 would be Michael Bisping who’s ranked No.4 in the weight class and is coming off the biggest win of his career, a unanimous decision victory against Anderson Silva in February, which extended his current winning streak to three fights.
Bisping has also fought Rockhold before, losing out by a second round guillotine choke back in November of 2014, but the Brit has long been calling for a title shot in the UFC, and as soon as word reached him yesterday that Weidman was injured, he immediately threw his hat into the ring.
“Training camps separate the boys from the men. This sport isn’t for everyone. 2 weeks notice? I’m down!!! @ufc #realfighter #fightersfighter.”