Heavyweight top contender and former champ Cain Velasquez has pulled out of his heavyweight title fight with Fabricio Werdum at UFC 196 in two weeks time, citing a back injury.
His replacement will be no.2 contender Stipe Miocic who claimed a TKO victory at UFC 195 earlier in the month against Andrei Arlovski, finishing him in devastating fashion in the very first round.
Velasquez's injury represents a huge break for the Cleveland native who has been one of the division's best fighters, combining an under-appreciated wrestling base with solid, technical boxing.
Poorly timed losses throughout his career as well as a lack of name recognition have kept him along the periphery of the heavyweight title picture.
As for Velasquez, this is another hard blow for the former champ. Many questioned whether or not it was wise to give an often-injured fighter a bout for the title with other viable options available.
Even more debated, was whether or not he was even deserving, given Werdum's history with veterans like Junior dos Santos and Arlovski. This latest issue, however, robs him of the opportunity to become a three-time UFC heavyweight champion.
Fans of the American can rest easy, however as he promised a comeback by saying, "I will get this taken care... I will heal and will come back and show you the Cain Velasquez you all deserve to see."
When and where he comes back, however, will likely remain a mystery for months to come.
The UFC's second pay-per view of the year will be available to order on Main Event on February 7.