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Strikeforce welterweight champ Tarec Saffiedine sees more risk than reward in UFC 158 Carlos Condit opportunity

Fresh off a career-defining upset, Tarec Saffiedine opts to decline the offer to replace Rory MacDonald and fight Carlos Condit at UFC 158.

Tarec Saffiedine vs. Tyron Woodley
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Tyron Woodley
Esther Lin for Strikeforce

Team Quest's Tarec Saffiedine busted the odds-makers who had him pegged him as the +300 underdog going into his Strikeforce bout with Nate Marquardt and pulled off the upset to snare the promotion's welterweight title. However, the glory was somewhat bittersweet.

Since the match took place in the main event of Strikeforce's farewell show, the 26-year-old Belgian's title reign was limited to a matter of minutes, as the curtains closed and the promotion flat-lined before "The Sponge" even had time to soak in the biggest victory of his career. Despite the unideal short-term circumstances, Saffiedine did pave the way for a brighter future by guaranteeing himself a spot on the UFC's roster with the win.

He received a call to fill in for the injured Rory MacDonald, who was initially slated to rematch Carlos Condit in the co-main event of UFC 158. In a recent conversation with MMA Junkie Radio, Saffiedine cited more cons than pros to explain his decision to pass on the offer. The following are Saffiedine's comments to

  • "It was a big opportunity for me, but with something like that, you have to weigh the pros and cons," Saffiedine said. "Unfortunately, there were more cons than pros.
  • "I'll be ready for the next one for sure," he said. "As long as I have time to get ready, I'll fight anybody."
  • "It was hard to say no. I don't like to turn down fights. I understand that people are frustrated or upset for me not to fight Carlos, but I'd love to fight him. He's one of the guys I'd love to fight. With a proper camp, I'd fight him for sure."
  • "I'm not 100 percent healthy right now. The timeframe is not the best, especially right now since (teammate) Dan (Henderson) is fighting (this weekend at UFC 157), and a lot of my teammates are fighting and gone."
  • "I have a lot of respect for Carlos, and I'd love to fight him, but I believe I need a healthier camp and a longer camp," he said. "Three-and-a-half weeks is kind of short for a fighter like him, and that's basically is why I didn't do the fight."

To adjust, the UFC has reshuffled the UFC 158 deck by yanking Johny Hendricks from his match with Jake Ellenberger and elevating him to the co-main slot opposite Carlos Condit, and Nate Marquardt will now step in to face Ellenberger.

UFC 158 takes place on March 16 from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, with Nick Diaz challenging UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre in the headliner. The retooled card is as follows:

UFC 158 PPV card

Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz
Carlos Condit vs. Johny Hendricks
Jake Ellenberger vs. Nate Marquardt
Chris Camozzi vs. Nick Ring
Colin Fletcher vs. Mike Ricci

FX preliminary card

Patrick Cote vs. Bobby Voelker
Antonio Carvalho vs. Darren Elkins
Jordan Mein vs. Dan Miller
Daron Cruickshank vs. John Makdessi

Facebook preliminary card

Quinn Mulhern vs. Rick Story
T.J. Dillashaw vs. Issei Tamura
Johnny Eduardo vs. Yves Jabouin

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