Saffiedine today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (MMA Radio, UFC Radio - MMAjunkie Radio
When UFC 158 co-headliner Rory MacDonald (14-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) went down with a shoulder injury, the UFC initially called on Saffiedine (14-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC), as MMAjunkie.com first reported on Monday. But the Belgian fighter turned down the pay-per-view bout, and Johnny Hendricks (14-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) ultimately stepped in as the replacement.
"It was a big opportunity for me, but with something like that, you have to weigh the pros and cons," Saffiedine said. "Unfortunately, there were more cons than pros.
"I'm not 100 percent healthy right now. The timeframe is not the best, especially right now since (teammate) Dan (Henderson) is fighting (this weekend at UFC 157), and a lot of my teammates are fighting and gone."
UFC 158 takes place March 16 at Montreal's Bell Centre. Not only would it have been a short-notice situation for Saffiedine, but he said he still had some lingering injuries from his Jan. 12 title win over Nate Marquardt at Strikeforce's final event.
"I have a lot of respect for Carlos, and I'd love to fight him, but I believe I need a healthier camp and a longer camp," he said. "Three-and-a-half weeks is kind of short for a fighter like him, and that's basically is why I didn't do the fight.
"It was hard to say no. I don't like to turn down fights. I understand that people are frustrated or upset for me not to fight Carlos, but I'd love to fight him. He's one of the guys I'd love to fight. With a proper camp, I'd fight him for sure."
For now Saffiedine said he's like to return to the cage and make his official UFC debut in April or May, especially if the organization heads to Europe. He doesn't have any specific opponents in mind, though he'd prefer a Top 10 welterweight to help his title chances.
"I'll be ready for the next one for sure," he said. "As long as I have time to get ready, I'll fight anybody."