Former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champ Chris Weidman recently said he wakes up every day thinking about getting his belt back from Luke Rockhold when they rematch for the title on June 4.
He will have to wait a bit longer for the opportunity.
Weidman suffered an injury during training and has been forced to pull out of the fight. Sources close to the organization confirmed a Tuesday report by FloCombat.
The bout was supposed to headline UFC 199 in Inglewood, California. UFC officials are seeking a replacement for Weidman.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is the leading candidate. He is coming off a first-round knockout of Vitor Belfort in Brazil on Saturday.
Souza has won nine of his last 10 bouts with the only exception coming in a December loss to Yoel Romero by split decision.
Michael Bisping, who resides in Southern California, is also a possibility.
“Training camps separate the boys from the men,” Bisping posted on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. “This sport isn’t for everyone. 2 weeks notice? I’m down!!! @ufc #realfighter #fightersfighter.”
— michael (@bisping) May 17, 2016
Rockhold took the title from Weidman in December, winning by knockout at UFC 194 on Dec. 12. Weidman, who dethroned longtime champion Anderson Silva in 2013 and successfully defended the belt three times, was granted an immediate rematch.
That is now on hold.
“I haven’t said ‘former champion.’ I’m not ready to say it,” Weidman told the Review-Journal in March. “It’s weird. I don’t even like when other people say it. I feel like it’s disrespectful. I know it’s not, but I just feel like it. I’m looking at him with my belt and very soon I’ll be able to get that back. I need that back. It can’t come soon enough.”
Details on Weidman’s injury are not yet known.
Rockhold posted a cryptic tweet on Monday night that may have foreshadowed the news.
“I might lose my hair but I will never lose my work ethic,” Rockhold posted. “No matter who, no matter when, no matter where. I’ll be ready. #ufc199.”
The event also includes a bantamweight title bout between Urijah Faber and champion Dominick Cruz.
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