Third times the charm right?

Wrong.

On Friday afternoon, it was revealed UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman has been forced to withdraw from his highly anticipate title fight with Vitor Belfort after suffering a rib injury in training camp. MMAJunkie was the first to report the news.

For fans, this news is especially devastating as this matchup has essentially been in the works for the better part of the 12 months.

Weidman and Belfort were originally scheduled to meet at UFC 173 in May before Belfort withdrew from the bout in wake of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s decision to ban Testosterone Replacement Therapy. Weidman would go on to defend his belt against Belfort’s replacement Lyoto Machida by decision in spectacular fashion in a Fight of the Night performance  at UFC 175 in July.

The fight between Weidman and Belfort was then rebooked for UFC 181 in Las Vegas on Dec. 6.  However, this time it was Weidman who pulled out after injuring his hand in camp, forcing the UFC to once again reschedule the bout

Prior to defeating Machida, Weidman (12-0) defended his title at UFC 168 against former middleweight champion and pound-for-pound best Anderson Silva, the very man he won the belt from when he shocked the world at UFC 162 in July 2013. He will enter this bout with eight career stoppage victories, including five by way of knockout.

Belfort (24-10), a former UFC light heavyweight champion, has not been seen since connecting with a violent first-round head kick knockout against Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32 in November 2013. This gave ‘The Phenom’ five straight stoppage victories as a middleweight, including three straight by way of knockout.

As a result, the women’s bantamweight contest between reining champion Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano, which was expected to serve as the night’s co-main event, has been bumped to the headlining act.

 

About The Author

News Manager

José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.