Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has suffered another injury that will once again force him out of a pivotal Light Heavyweight showdown against top division contender Alexander Gustafsson.
MMAFighting.com breaks the bad news:
'Minotouro' has withdrawn from the fight due to a lingering back injury ... there are no plans for Gustafsson's next fight yet [according to Dana White]. Gustafsson's team also said they heard the news but didn't know who the Swedish fighter will draw next.
It must be a rather significant injury, considering Gustafsson and Nogueira were expected to headline an international Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event on March 8, 2014, in London, England. That's more than four months away, which gives the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion more than enough time to find an adequate replacement to take on "The Mauler."
It's even enough time to build Daniel Cormier his very own personal sauna and hire a chef to make his 205-pound weight cut abroad as comfortable as possible.
Problem(s) solved! Not really, just in theory ...
Cormier, of course, made it clear that he was more than willing to fight Gustafsson -- or any other fighter in the division for that matter -- but he just wanted to do it stateside. That's because the undefeated Heavyweight has a scary history with cutting weight, experiencing kidney failure when he attempted to hit the scales on point as a United States wrestling team member at the Olympics in 2008.
"DC" clearly wanted to concentrate on hitting his mark safely rather than scurrying around a foreign land looking for creature comforts and soul foods that cannot be found.
Time will tell if the promotion makes the most meaningful match available in the weight class between Cormier and Gustafsson, the winner of which would challenge the winner of world title bout between Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira that takes place at UFC 170 in early 2014.
It's certainly better than Cormier taking on Phil Davis, a match up that made the former curl his lip like he smelled a bad fart on a recent appearance as an analyst on FOX Sports 1.
We shall see soon enough.
Meanwhile, the struggles continue for "Lil Nog," who was supposed to return to action against Mauricio Rua at UFC 161 earlier this year, but an injury in training forced him to withdraw from the bout. Let's also remember, Gustafsson and Nogueira were originally booked to battle at UFC on Fuel TV 2 in April 2012, but a knee injury to the Brazilian derailed that match, too.
If Gustafsson defeated Nogueira, UFC President Dana White confirmed that he will next fight or the belt. It's safe to assume that whoever Gustafsson fights next -- Cormier or someone else -- will still keep him next in line with a victory after his performance of a lifetime against Jones in defeat at UFC 166 just last month.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more on this breaking story as it develops.