Jake Ellenberger had a sneaking suspicion Johny Hendricks would "find a way out" of their scheduled UFC 158 bout—either through injury or mere circumstance.
It was a combination of both for Hendricks, who will now face Carlos Condit in the co-main event of the March 16 event.
Rory MacDonald was slated to fight Condit, but on Monday, MMAFighting.com reported that MacDonald was forced to withdraw from the card after suffering a neck injury in training.
While Hendricks receives the royal treatment and gets bumped to the co-main event slot, Ellenberger will now face former Strikeforce welterweight champ Nate Marquardt, who is coming off a lopsided decision loss to Tarec Saffiedine.
In a post on Twitter, Ellenberger accused Hendricks of ducking out of the fight.
Jake Ellenberger @EllenbergerMMA
I knew you'd find a way out @JohnyHendricks2013-2-19 04:24:51
The fight with Hendricks was a big opportunity for Ellenberger to get back into the welterweight title picture.
His six-fight win streak was snapped in a second-round knockout loss to Martin Kampmann back in June 2012. He rebounded a few months later with a decision victory over Jay Hieron at UFC on FX 5.
A win over Hendricks would have gone a long way in erasing the loss to Kampmann and reinvigorating Ellenberger's championship run.
Unfortunately for Ellenberger, Hendricks has the same goals in mind.
Currently on a five-fight win streak, Hendricks has constantly been overlooked as a No. 1 contender. His last three wins came over top-10 opposition, two of which he finished in the first round.
With the persistent title snubbing, Hendricks is on a mission to earn the ever-elusive UFC title shot—and a convincing win over a marquee name like Condit would definitely help.
For now, "The Juggernaut" will have to keep smashing through walls and building his stock as a possible future contender.
It continues with Marquardt at UFC 158.