The injury bug has bitten again, this time afflicting lightweight standout Jeremy Stephens, who has officially withdrawn from his UFC Fight Night 20 bout against Nik Lentz on January 11 in Fairfax.
MMAmania.com confirmed the injury with Stephen's camp earlier today.
While the undisclosed injury will not require surgery, "Lil Heathen" is expected to be out of action for a couple of months to heal up.
Stephens recently improved his record to 5-4 in the UFC. He was last seen pounding out Justin Buchholz at UFC Fight Night 19 in Oklahoma City back on Sept. 16 after dropping two straight to Hermes Franca and Gleison Tibau, respectively.
Despite those back-to-back losses, fans have not forgotten his "Knockout of the Night" at UFC 91: "Couture vs. Lesnar" when he sent Rafael dos Anjos back to Brazil with a thundering uppercut that he threw from what appeared to be the center of the cage.
It was among the most devastating finishes of 2008.
Stephens had really stepped up his training in anticipation of this event, calling on Josh Neer and Diego Sanchez to help refine every aspect of his offense and defense.
Unfortunately it may have cost him the Jan. 11 fight.
Lentz, who may still have time to receive a replacement fighter, is on a eight-fight win streak that dates back more than two years. He is a Minnesota Martial Arts Academy product who has competed primarily on the local circuit for most of his career.
"The Carnie" recently scored a unanimous decision win over Rafaello Oliveira in his Octagon debut at UFC 103: "Franklin vs. Belfort" back on Sept. 19 and also outpointed UFC veteran Drew Fickett at SNMMA: "Beatdown at 4 Bears" to make a name for himself earlier this year.
An announcement on his fate in Fairfax is expected soon.
UFC Fight Night 20 features a rematch between Ultimate Fighter rivals Gray Maynard (8-0) and Nate Diaz (11-4), who will duke it out in a possible number one contender bout for the 155-pound title. Undefeated lightweights Efrain Escudero and Evan Dunham are also scheduled to hook 'em up.
For more on UFC Fight Night 20 click here.