A back injury has forced former two-time heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez out of his UFC 196 main event rematch against Fabricio Werdum on Feb. 6.
The heavyweight champion will defend his title on Super Bowl weekend though, as UFC President Dana White announced Sunday afternoon that Werdum will now face number two-ranked contender Stipe Miocic at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
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"Something can always happen, so you never know," a surprised, but happy, Miocic said of his late notice shot at the title. "I’m just super happy that I got the chance now. That’s what I’ve been working for, and I’m gonna take that belt. It’s mine."
Considered by many to be in the running to be considered the greatest heavyweight mixed martial artist of all-time, Brazil's Werdum already owns victories over Velasquez, Minotauro Nogueira and Fedor Emelianenko, and on Feb. 6 he will defend his UFC title for the first time against Ohio's Miocic, a longtime contender who has won five of his last six bouts. In January, he followed up his 2015 win over Mark Hunt with a statement-making 54-second knockout of Andrei Arlovski that earned him the biggest fight of his career less than two weeks from today.