With officials unable to find a replacement for injured opponent Manny Gamburyan, Chad Mendes has been pulled from the Feb. 23 UFC 157 event altogether.
But the former title challenger is getting what is arguably a bigger fight when Mendes (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) meets fellow featherweight Clay Guida (30-13 MMA, 10-7 UFC) at UFC on FOX 7 on April 20, UFC President Dana White confirmed with USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps
) on Monday.
The event takes place at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Mendes vs. Guida could be one of four fights featured on the network-televised main card, which follows prelims on FX and Facebook.
Since a failed title shot with champion Jose Aldo in early 2012, Mendes has posted back-to-back knockout wins over Cody McKenzie and Yaotzin Meza to put the division on notice. According to Mendes' manager, Mike Roberts, it's not surprising UFC officials couldn't find a replacement to keep him on the UFC 157 card.
"There's not a huge line of people that want to fight Chad, especially on two weeks' (notice)," he said. "But Chad is the best – if not, the second best – guy in that weight division, period. Chad's not going to turn anybody down. He believes he can beat anybody."
He'll get that opportunity against Guida, who has the same strengths (wrestling and cardio) as Mendes. The former lightweight recently made the drop to featherweight and suffered a split-decision loss to perennial contender Gray Maynard. However, the high-energy Guida rebounded in January and edged Hatsu Hioki via split decision.
In addition to Mendes vs. Guida, UFC on FOX 7 also features a previously announced headliner of lightweight champ Benson Henderson (18-2, 6-0) vs. Strikeforce import Gilbert Melendez (21-2, 0-0). Heavyweights Frank Mir (16-6, 14-6) and Daniel Cormier (11-0, 0-0) meet in the co-headliner.
The latest UFC on FOX 7 card includes:
Champ Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez - for lightweight title
Daniel Cormier vs. Frank Mir
Nate Diaz vs. Josh Thomson
Matt Brown vs. Dan Hardy
Clay Guida vs. Chad Mendes
Roger Bowling vs. Anthony Njokuani
Jorge Masvidal vs. Tim Means
Myles Jury vs. Ramsey Nijem
Clifford Starks vs. Yoel Romero
Norman Parke vs. Jon Tuck