Better late than never. That’s how Leslie Smith has got to be looking at the situation.
After she missed out on the first shot at replacing Sarah Kaufman‘s opponent at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale next week, Smith got the call after Amanda Nunes fell out due to injury on Tuesday.
Kaufman had originally been slated to fight Shayna Baszler at the April 16 event in Quebec City, Quebec. When Baszler had to withdraw due to injury, Smith threw her name in the mix, angling for a rematch with Kaufman, but the UFC opted to go with Nunes, who was already on the roster.
After Nunes suffered a dislocated finger and withdrew on Tuesday, Smith finally got the call.
Smith and Kaufman fought to a controversial split decision last April in the all-women’s fight promotion Invicta Fighting Championships. The closely contested bout earned the Fight of the Night award.
Following the loss to Kaufman, Smith dropped down to the flyweight division and made a run at the Invicta FC flyweight title. After earning a unanimous decision win over Jennifer Maia, Smith was given a title shot, but came up short. She was defeated by champion Barb Honchak on Dec. 7 by unanimous decision, but earned Fight of the Night honors again.
After the win over Smith, Kaufman made her UFC debut againstJessica Eye at UFC 166 on Oct. 13, 2013. She originally lost by split decision, but the result was later changed to a No Contest after Eye failed the post-fight drug test. She returned a positive test for marijuana and was fined and placed on probation.
Kaufman has been anxiously awaiting another opportunity in the Octagon, and she’ll finally get it against Smith, who will hopefully be the final switch of opponents.
(Photo courtesy of Invicta Fighting Championships)