"It sucks because I wanted to fight Junior, try to work toward fighting for the championship but it happens. It’s part of the game. We all get hurt, we train hard. I’m moving on. He’s a tough guy and I’m sure it will be a hell of a fight. I talked to the UFC and it’s what they wanted. Maldonado stepped up so I took the fight.... It’s a fight, anything can happen in a fight. It is what it is. I’m going down to Brazil and fight in his country.... Fabio Maldonado is a super tough guy and I’m just glad he took the fight. I’m excited he took the fight. I’m glad he stepped up so I can do what I love.... It’s not going to be easy. There are no easy fights, especially in the UFC. I’m going out there to do my job."
-- Stipe Miocic wasn't too thrilled when his UFC 173 co-main event against Junior dos Santos was traded to The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil 3" Finale main event last month in favor of Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva (read full details here). Imagine his disappointment, then, when learning that "Cigano" had to withdraw from their Heavyweight match because of an injury sustained in training. Sheer disappointment must have settled in when he later learned that Fabio Maldonado -- a Light Heavyweight who isn't mentioned in the Top 15 205-pound rankings -- would serve as the late replacement for the No. 2-ranked former division champion. Indeed, it's a huge fortune change, a dreaded "lose-lose" scenario that can really only harm the hungry up-and-comer. The good news is that Miocic is taking it all in stride, according to recent comments made to MMAFighting.com. In addition, Maldonado is a crowd pleaser, meaning that a fun scrap like the one that went down this weekend between Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 40 can get fans buzzing for a future showdown against dos Santos once he is cleared to return to competition. Miocic, of course, would need to win in exciting fashion for that to happen, an outcome (winning) that he wisely realizes is far from guaranteed. That's because -- if nothing else -- TUF Brazil 3 Finale's reworked main event will be fun to watch while it lasts inside Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 31, 2014.