Cain Velasquez looks to be set to return to the Octagon as a huge opportunity presented itself on Friday.
With Ben Rothwell out of his scheduled matchup with Fabricio Werdum, sources say that Velasquez could replace “Big Ben” at either UFC 211 in Dallas May 13 or UFC 212 from Rio on June 3, ESPN reports.
Rothwell was flagged for a failed drug screening by USADA, forcing the UFC to pull “Big Ben” from the card. Werdum’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, confirmed to ESPN that Werdum is willing to take on former foe Cain Velasquez, who he defeated by submission at UFC 188:
Per Fabricio Werdum's manager @AliAbdelaziz00, Werdum told UFC he's willing to face Cain Velasquez at UFC 211 or 212. Thinks it makes sense.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 9, 2017
Velasquez rebounded from that loss after brutalizing Travis “Hapa” Browne in the first round at UFC 200.
Velasquez’s coach Javier Mednez had recently gone on record saying Velasquez has ‘hardly ever been training’ lately, since the former heavyweight champion endured an injury leading into a scheduled rematch with Werdum back at UFC 207 in December.
Werdum himself lost the heavyweight title he had wrested from Velasquez after suffering a first round knockout loss at the hands of current champ Stipe Miocic in May. The Brazilian got back on track with a win over Browne at UFC 203 and is now looking to make his way back into title contention.
A win for either man would put them in line for a shot at Miocic’s belt.
UFC 211 takes place in May 2017 and will be headlined by Miocic vs. dos Santos II, while UFC 212 takes place in June and will feature a featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway.