This weekend’s UFC 180 event in Mexico City suffered a little bit of a letdown when UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez was forced to bow out due to a knee injury.
Of course, it was a particular letdown for the Mexican-American Velasquez, who described the opportunity to participate in the UFC’s first visit to Mexico as his “destiny” and reportedly couldn’t wait to defend his title against streaking challenger Fabricio Werdum (pictured above left).
As we approach the event, the stakes are still high for Werdum, and his new opponent Mark Hunt. The two will meet on Saturday to decide the UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion.
However, in a new interview at the UFC website, UFC President Dana White reports that it’s possible the bout may end up determining the UFC Heavyweight Champion outright.
Here’s the deal: Velasquez is scheduled to fight again in March. But if he has to pull out due to injury, then the interim champ (the winner of Werdum/Hunt) could have the “interim” title removed.
“We’re headed in that direction now,” White says to UFC.com. “This next fight in Mexico is for the interim title. So if Cain couldn’t compete again, the winner of this fight would be seen as the champion.”
White also discussed the rash of injuries which has become the norm in the UFC of late, most recently keeping Holly Holm from her scheduled debut at UFC 181:
“If you look at the NFL, they’re not hitting anymore in practice. They’re playing games every week,” White said. “Mixed Martial Arts training has evolved and gone to a whole different level. I think it’s time to reel it back a bit.”