Saffiedine Original Replacement for MacDonald
When Rory MacDonald injured himself in training and was forced out of his fight with Carlos Condit at UFC 158, a replacement was found in Johny Hendricks, who was incredibly eager to fight the former number one contender.
Hendricks, however, wasn't the first welterweight sensation to be given the opportunity to fill in for "Ares" in the co-main event.
The UFC's original choice was Tarec Saffiedine, the last Strikeforce 170 lb. champion. He was asked to fight Carlos Condit as soon as MacDonald withdrew, but unfortunately, the Belgian Muay Thai machine turned down what could could have easily been the biggest fight in his young career.
In a recent appearance on The MMA Hour (via MMAmania.com), Saffiedine explained why he didn't believe it was wise to accept this important fight simply because he was not given enough time to get in the best shape possible prior to the UFC's call.
"The main reason is, I'm not 100-percent healthy. I have a couple of injuries that have been nagging and I had to take care of. And so, I had to unfortunately turn down the fight. It was too short to heal my injury and be ready for the fight. With healthy and a longer camp, I would love to take the fight. But, unfortunately, that's the reason why I had to turn it down. On short notice, if I weren't injured, I don't know, in such short notice, I think I would have to say no. I don't know man. It was a tough call because I wasn't in the best shape right now and it was a tough call to not say yes and at the same time it was a great opportunity and one I was looking for also. But, the balance in the end was the injury."
It's hard to blame Saffiedine for this decision. As we said, "The Natural Born Killer" would be by far his toughest test to date and he cannot afford to go into this fight with any sort of hindrance or disadvantage, even if that means missing out on the spotlight of being featured in the co-main event of a pay-per-view.
Besides, another chance to prove that he is be a true threat to the division will definitely come again in the near future, just probably not against the former no. 2 welterweight in the world. There's no doubt that the UFC shares our curiosity as to how far Saffiedine's striking prowess will take him once he steps up to the plate to face the most elite level of competition imaginable.
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