Just hours away from stepping into the cage at BAMMA USA Badbeat 4, Ruediger learned his opponent would be unable to fight, thus derailing his return for the time being.
“We did weigh-ins and everything was fine, and the day of the fight everything seemed like it was still on. I got to the event and Brett (Roberts, BAMMA promoter) told me that Musa (Toliver) damaged his ribs the day of the fight and pulled out basically two hours before the event,” said Ruediger.
“I’ve had people pull out at weigh-ins or whole events get cancelled, but I’ve never had to where I’ve actually checked in the day of the fight and someone’s been injured. It’s new for me.”
Ruediger was originally scheduled to face Brandon Anderson, but the week leading up to the fight saw that bout scrapped by the California State Athletic Commission because of the experience gap between the two fighters.
The whole ordeal comes as a disappointing setback for Ruediger, who was set to return to fighting for the first time since February of last year when he lost to Paul Taylor at UFC 126.
“I had to have back surgery,” said Ruediger. “I started to feel bad before I fought Joe Lauzon, and it just got worse and worse. It got to the point to where my training was affected. I couldn’t walk. I was a mess. I think it was just wear and tear from doing this as long as I have.”
Ruediger told MMAWeekly.com that the setback is only temporary, and that he intends to return to action in the very near future.
“I’ve got a lot of offers,” he said. “It’s surprising that I’ve had a year off and I’m still a name. I think more so than anything is that people want to fight me just so they can say they fought a UFC veteran. I don’t have anything set yet, but it’s looking like I can fight whenever I want, so it will probably be in March.”
And when Ruediger does return, he will be making his way down to featherweight to better facilitate a return to the top MMA promotions.
“My last fight in the UFC I cut three pounds to make the limit, and three pounds of water is nothing, so I could have been leaner,” he said. “I’m going to stay strict with diet, and then my next fight will be at 150 and then just take it one fight at a time and get back into the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator; the major organizations.
“I think the 145-pound division is a very good division for me. I definitely feel that in any of the major organizations I could make a run for it (at featherweight). I’m not sure that I’m ready for Jose Aldo, but I’d like to test myself against the better guys in the 145-pound division and see what they have.”