According to multiple reports, UFC heavyweight standout Junior dos Santos has broken his hand, causing him to withdraw from his May 31 showdown against Stipe Miocic at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale.
Junior Cigano broke his hand and is out of #tuffinale— Ana Hissa (@AnaHissa) May 5, 2014
Several other media outlets then corroborated the news, confirming that dos Santos will be unable to compete on May 31's card.
Currently ranked No. 2 in the UFC's official heavyweight rankings, dos Santos has not competed inside the UFC Octagon since an October 2013 TKO loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 166.
In that fight, dos Santos was smashed for over 23 minutes, resulting in one of the worst beatdowns in promotional history.
Now, "Cigano" will have to wait to throw himself back into title talks at heavyweight, as his injury will prolong his return to the cage.
A replacement opponent for Miocic has not yet been named, but the choices in the heavyweight top-10 rankings are slim.
Here's a breakdown of the current state of the division's top 10.
|Cain Velasquez (c)||Will face Fabricio Werdum at UFC 180|
|Fabricio Werdum||Will face Cain Velasquez at UFC 180|
|Junior dos Santos||Broken hand, return unknown|
|Travis Browne||Serving 90-day medical suspension from April 19's UFC on Fox 11 event|
|Antonio Silva||Serving nine month suspension enacted in December 2013|
|Josh Barnett||Recently recovered from a knee injury, says he's ready to go|
|Alistair Overeem||Recovering from elbow surgery, return unknown|
|Stipe Miocic||Needs TUF Brazil 3 Finale Opponent|
|Mark Hunt||Targeted for bout with Roy Nelson later this year|
|Roy Nelson||Targeted for bout with Mark Hunt later this year, already soundly defeated by Miocic|
|Frank Mir||'Taking time off,' no updates since late March 2014|
Multiple online reports
This in mind, who would you like to see Miocic face?
The Ohioan is currently riding a two-fight winning streak over Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga, so it is unlikely he would want to dip out of the top 10 to face somebody lower down the ladder.
Unfortunately, virtually everybody from there up is booked, hurt or suspended, putting Miocic and the UFC in a tough position. The only fighter who makes sense according to these reports is No. 5-ranked Josh Barnett, but according to MMA Fighting, "The Warmaster" just recovered from a knee injury, meaning that he may not be able to go on less than a month's notice.
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report as more updates emerge regarding dos Santos' injury and a replacement opponent for Miocic.