Hunt, who is scheduled to fight Dos Santos in the May 25 co-main event, is having trouble flying out of New Zealand back to the United States due to visa issues.
With less than two weeks out from the fight, a situation that was once considered a minor hiccup is quickly turning into something serious. The co-main event could be in jeopardy, and it would behoove the UFC to make sure some form of a backup plan is in place just in case Hunt remains trapped overseas.
The most logical opponent to step in against Dos Santos would be Nelson, who is two weeks out from his first-round knockout victory over Cheick Kongo. Nelson suffered no injuries in his bout with Kongo, and he is already coming off a great training camp.
During an appearance on Inside MMA, Nelson admitted Dos Santos wasn't the opponent he had in mind, but if given the opportunity, he wouldn't turn down the fight:
The thing is in the heavyweight division, I know Daniel [Cormier] wanted to fight me, so Daniel is on my list, he's on my radar. JDS actually wasn't on my radar, unless he had the belt. Like right now, my biggest focus is Cain Velasquez and Bigfoot [Silva], whoever wins out of that one. I'm just eyeing that gold, but I'm always down to fight anybody.
Nelson and Dos Santos have already met once before back in August 2010 at UFC 117.
It was a fairly lopsided bout with Dos Santos turning Nelson into a human pinata for the better part of three rounds.
Nelson has finished his last three opponents by knockout. While his recent run is impressive, he still needs another win over a solid top-10 opponent to truly prove himself as the No. 1 contender in the heavyweight division. A win over Dos Santos would go a long way in proving he's ready for a title shot.
Hunt's unfortunate luck may be Nelson's golden opportunity.