Was scheduled to face Matt Hughes in co-main event
The injury bug has bitten the UFC once again.
Diego Sanchez has been forced to withdraw from UFC 135 due to a broken hand. With just 19 days until the event, the co-main event is now in jeopardy.
UFC President Dana White announced the news on Twitter on Monday afternoon.
Though the organization is searching for a replacement to pair with former welterweight champ Hughes, many of the top competitors from the 170 pound division are already booked.
The only two notable names currently without anything scheduled are Johny Hendricks and Rory MacDonald. While each would be a solid option this late in the game, there are no guarantees that either would be interested in taking a fight on short notice or that Hughes would be inclined to meet either of the young stars; the UFC Hall of Famer is very selective about who he is willing to step in against.
Sanchez made his return to the welterweight division at UFC 114, losing to British prospect John Hathaway. He has since won back-to-back contest, including a narrow split decision victory over Martin Kampmann back in March. The 37-year-old Hughes last competed in November 2010 at UFC 123, losing to BJ Penn in the first round.
Fellow welterweights Jake Shields and Jake Ellenberger are slated to face each other a week earlier in New Orleans at UFC Fight Night 25, “Battle on the Bayou.”
It’s highly unlikely that the UFC will alter the Spike TV main event in order to replace Sanchez, given the amount of promotion that has gone into the event and the fact that Shields and Ellenberger are the only salable fighters on the September 17 card.
Heavy MMA will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.