UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez had successful shoulder surgery on Tuesday, but it wasn’t all good news.
While the surgery went well, Velasquez is likely to be facing five to six months of rehabilitation, according to a report from UFC Tonight.
That means the champ will be on the sidelines for the better part of 2014. Velasquez would be unlikely to return before the second half of the year, if not near the end of the year.
Velasquez had been expected to put his belt on the line against Fabricio Werdum in his next bout, but his recovery time may necessitate the Brazilian taking another fight instead of waiting.
UFC president Dana White, at least, told UFC Tonight that he would try to talk Werdum into fighting someone else instead of having his top two heavyweights sitting out for more than a year.
Velasquez hasn’t fought since his TKO stoppage of Junior dos Santos at UFC 166 in October, while Werdum last competed at UFC on Fuel TV 10 in June, when he submitted Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
If Velasquez weren’t sidelined, the UFC was angling for the fight with Werdum to headline the promotion’s first event in Mexico. The injury could sideline those plans as well.
Werdum was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
(Photo courtesy of Cain Velasquez)