All may not be lost for WEC light heavyweight champion Steve Cantwell.
After defeating Brian Stann for the WEC belt earlier this year, and with Zuffa's decision to fold the WEC's 205- and 185-pound weight classes into the UFC, Cantwell was slated to rematch Stann at "UFC Fight Night 16: UFC Fights for the Troops" in December.
Although Stann was recently forced off the card with a broken foot, UFC newcomer Razak Al-Hussan (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) could get the fight with Cantwell (6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) instead.
A source close to Al-Hussan, an undefeated Des Moines-based fighter who made his professional debut in 2007, today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the fighter has accepted the bout and his camp is awaiting word from Cantwell's.
If accepted, the bout would be the latest addition to a quickly filling UFC Fight Night 16 card. The event, which serves as a fundraiser for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, takes place at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C., in conjunction with the Fort Bragg military installation.
UFC Fight Night 16 airs live on Spike TV.
Cantwell scored a bit of an upset when he defeated Stann via second-round TKO at WEC 35 in August. The 21-year-old had suffered a defeat to Stann once before -- via 41-second TKO at WEC 26 in 2007 -- before avenging the loss in his most recent bout. The trilogy was set to take place in December, but fiveouncesofpain.com first reported that Stann had suffered a foot injury earlier this month.
Although Cantwell is the WEC's reigning champion, UFC officials have not publicly stated whether he -- or any other WEC fighters -- have job security in the UFC. The WEC's middleweight and light-heavyweight divisions will be folded into the UFC by early 2009.
Cantwell could strengthen his case with a victory over Al-Hussan. As MMAjunkie.com first reported in July, Al-Hussan was expected to make his octagon debut in August at UFC 87 against Andre Gusmao. However, a few weeks prior to the bout, Al-Hussan suffered a chest injury and was forced out of the bout. (UFC newcomer Jon Jones got the fight instead.)
Al-Hussan will be greeted by the UFC crowd about as warmly as Obama's name at a McCain rally
smoogy - Al-Hussan will be greeted by the UFC crowd about as warmly as Obama's name at a McCain rally
Oh how big the boos would be if it was Stann the one that was fighting...
But Im sure the troops would give Al-Hussan a big ol boo greeting