Frankie Edgar will not be fighting undisputed UFC Featherweight Champion when the organization makes its awaited return to Detroit on Dec. 2.
News broke Wednesday evening that the 36-year-old’s bid to become a two-division champion at UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena would be nixed after suffering a facial injury in training that will require surgery. It was first reported by Raphael Marinho of Combate.com.
Speculation is currently that the 25-year-old Holloway (18-3) may remain on the card with a replacement opponent to be determined. With Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas on tap for the UFC on FOX card in Winnipeg on Dec. 16, one option could be to pull Cub Swanson, currently ranked No. 4 in the division, from his fight the following weekend against sixth-ranked Brian Ortega. Swanson is riding a four-fight win streak with the only two losses in his last 10 bouts coming to Edgar and Holloway.
UPDATE: MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani provided some insight into Swanson as a potential replacement.
Holloway would like to remain on 218, I’m told, and the most logical replacement is Cub Swanson. Swanson, though, has one fight left on his deal and is currently booked against Brian Ortega on 12/9. “We would have to come to terms on a new deal,” Swanson tells me. “I’m willing.”
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 9, 2017
Holloway won the interim title almost a year ago in a fight with Anthony Pettis, then unified the 145-pound belt with a third-round TKO of Aldo in June at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro.
The first UFC in the Metro Detroit area since 2010 will also feature feature a heavyweight title bout between Alistair Overeem and Francis Ngannou, as well as three others that also include top-five contenders, among them an expected brawl pitting Eddie Alvarez against Justin Gaethje in the lightweight division.
Several Michigan fighters are also featured on the undercard, including West Michigan native Drakkar Klose (South Haven High School) and women’s strawweight competitor Amanda Bobby Cooper.
The complete card for UFC 218 in Detroit:
Pay-pier-view main card
UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway vs. TBA
Alistair Overeem vs. Francis Ngannou
Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson
Preliminary Card on FS1
Paul Felder vs. Charles Oliveira
Alex Oliveira vs. Yancy Medeiros
Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
Felice Herrig vs. Cortney Casey
Preliminary Card on UFC Fight Pass
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Sabah Homasi
Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes
Allen Crowder vs. Justin Willis
Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana