Yesterday, we told you about the unfortunate news that the semi-main event for next week’s UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Duffy card in Dublin, Ireland was off. Stipe Miocic, who was set to face Ben Rothwell, was out due to an undisclosed minor injury. While it likely removed any relevance from the fight since a potential replacement wouldn’t be a ranked contender, it was still thought that Rothwell could still fight if a replacement was secured. Everyone from Matt Mitrione (who Rothwell submitted in both men’s last fight) to Tyrone Spong (whose MMA contract is with WSOF and most likely couldn’t fight here) to Derek Brunson (who’s a middleweight but surely weights at least 206 pounds right now) offered to step up on short notice.
All of those call-outs are irrelevant now, because according to MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, Rothwell has been pulled from the card. Rothwell told Helwani that he has “No hard feelings towards Stipe at all. I’ve been on the other side of the coin. These things happen, and I’d like to hope that everything happens for a reason. Maybe there is a bigger fight for me out there.”
Rothwell added that he will still attend the card, saying that “I will shed a tear being in that crowd. I’ve been waiting 16 years to fight in front of a crowd like that, so I will pray before it’s all over that I get that chance.” Last year’s return to Dublin with Conor McGregor headlining and locals all over the card was hailed as one of the best cards in years due to the wild crowd enhancing an already exciting, well-matched night of fights.
Rothwell is on a three fight win streak with all being finishes and the last two wins being over ranked opponents (Alistair Overeem and Matt Mitrione). Had Miocic not been injured, the fight would have been the first time in Rothwell’s UFC career where he didn’t take at least a relatively long (seven months or more) layoff between fights. For now, he’s telling Helwani he will step in against Junior Dos Santos in December if Overeem gets hurt.