Former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt has been forced out of his fight against top contender Raphael Assuncao at UFC Columbus.

ESPN who first reported the news said ‘No Love’ was hospitalized earlier this week due to kidney issues during his training camp in New Jersey. He had recently moved to the city to begin working under head coach Mark Henry and training with the likes of Eddie Alvarez and Frankie Edgar.

The Ohio native later confirmed his withdrawal from the card and explained the painful symptoms he had been experiencing for quite some time, he told ESPN.

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“I honestly don’t know what it is,” Garbrandt said. “A month ago, I had cellulitis in my shin. I went to the hospital and got that cleared with antibiotics. I got back into training, but then last Friday, the lymph nodes in my groin were inflamed and I didn’t feel well. I thought it was just due to rough training.

“On Saturday, I had flu-like symptoms. The lymph nodes were so inflamed I couldn’t walk. I took an Uber to the hospital and did a bunch of tests on my blood, kidneys, CAT scan. The doctor sent me home, and 20 minutes later I felt even worse and started pissing blood.”

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Garbrandt hasn’t fought since losing against Pedro Muhnoz at UFC 235 in March 2019. The 28-year-old hasn’t won a fight since capturing the 135lb title by beating Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 in 2016. He lost back-to-back fights against TJ Dillashaw before his most recent defeat to Muhnoz.

It is so far unknown if the Brazilian contender Assuncao will remain of the card. With just over two weeks until UFC Columbus the promotion now faces the tough task of finding a replacement opponent able to make weight on late notice. All this whilst they continue to debate if the event is even safe to hold amid the ongoing Corona Virus pandemic.

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Who should replace Cody Garbrandt and face Raphael Assuncao at UFC Columbus?