When September rolled around, the UFC began to hype a giant finale to one of the most successful years in the history of the company. The UFC had some big fights left to make, lots of events to fill fights with and a whole bunch of highly ranked contenders that were healthy.
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The list of fighters that were set to compete in the last four months of the year was insane. A total of six title fights featuring stars like Ronda Rousey, Chris Weidman, Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor. On top of that, there were pivotal divisional match-ups in Ryan Bader vs. Rashad Evans, Johny Hendricks vs. Tyron Woodley, Stipe Miocic vs. Ben Rothwell, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson, Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes and Jacare Souza vs. Yoel Romero.
Every one of those fights listed either includes a must-see championship fighter or is a fight where either guy could come out the winner. The final quarter of the year was planned to be something special, but as usual, injuries have begun to unravel things.
The first casualty was the least of the UFC's worries. In this case, Roan Carneiro pulled out of his fight against Gegard Mousasi due to an elbow injury. This lead to an even better fight with Uriah Hall knocking out Mousasi in what has been considered a giant upset victory.
The next cancellation was by far the oddest. Johny Hendricks was forced to pull out of this fight at UFC 192 against Tyron Woodley the day before the fight. Hendricks was hospitalized due to a bad weight cut that resulted in the fight being scrapped all together. The other two big fights for UFC 192 went off without a hitch though.
The next event, UFC Dublin, was an event that was ravaged by injuries within its closing week. Stipe Miocic pulled out of his Heavyweight fight with Ben Rothwell 10 days beforehand with an injury. Just three days before the event, headliner Joseph Duffy was removed from the card after suffering a concussion in training. His fight with Dustin Poirier was removed from the card.
I just found out that the @DustinPoirier @Duffy_MMA fight was cancelled. Sucks for both men, I was really looking forward to that fight.— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) October 21, 2015
The UFC then went an entire week without an event, but this did not stop the bad news from rolling in. Joanne Calderwood was forced out of her main event fight with Paige VanZant at UFC Fight Night 80. Fortunately the UFC was able to replace Calderwood with the higher ranked Rose Namajunas.
The pain of injuries really started to hit the UFC hard by announcing injuries to major fights on back to back days. The first was an injury to top lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov. This was very disappointing news as a win over Tony Ferguson would have likely set him up with the winner of Dos Anjos/Cerrone. Edson Barboza was chosen as a replacement.
I'm ready, was getting more ready & Going to be more ready for whoever. Keep your head up @TeamKhabib shit happens bro #HealUpKhabib #Cucuy— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) October 30, 2015
Finally, a fan favorite who is always down to scrap was removed from his headlining fight at the TUF Latin America 2 Finale. Matt Brown pulled out of his scheduled fight against Kelvin Gastelum with an ankle injury. It is not known is a replacement will be found or if Gastelum will be taken off of the card.
Luckily for the UFC, all of these fights have been non-championship fights. The only championship fight that has been affected by an injury was the original headliner of UFC 193, Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit. The fight was moved to January 2nd (UFC 195), and was moved before the event had become official.
With very little room for error, the UFC will be hoping to get lucky with a string of good weeks without injuries. The year has been great for PPV business even though a good portion of main event and co-main event fights have been altered due to injuries.
We're at 39 with the addition of Brown-Gastelum. https://t.co/FM8k5DPHmA— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) November 3, 2015