With news breaking last night that Ovince St. Preux is stepping up on short notice to take on Jon Jones in the Main Event at UFC 197, we take a look at the top 10 late replacement victories in the history of the UFC.
While OSP has just over three weeks to get ready for his upcoming bout, he will take motivation from his short notice victory over Shogun Rua. OSP knocked out Rua in just 34 seconds in November 2014 on just eight days notice. A great victory but it just misses out on the list.
So here are the top ten:
10 – Chas Skelly def. Sean Soriano, UFC Fight Night 50 (10 days notice)
While this fight may not seem to have as much significance as some of the others on the list, Skelly’s decision to fight just 13 days after beating Tom Niinimaki was a huge gamble. A gamble that paid off though. After submitting Niinimaki mid way through the first, Skelly lived up to his nickname as ‘The Scrapper’ when he beat Soriano less than two weeks later by unanimous decision.
9 – Steve Jennum def. Harold Howard, UFC 3 (0 days notice)
A name that will only sound familiar to the most hardcore of UFC fans, Steve Jennum famously won the UFC 3 Tournament, after coming in as an alternate to go straight into the final against fellow alternate Harold Howard. Jennum fought all of 87 seconds to win the tournament, renowned for being the most gruelling of affairs. UFC 3 was set up for a Shamrock v. Gracie final but both fighters had to withdraw through injury and exhaustion, respectively.
8 – Neil Magny def. Erick Silva, UFC Fight Night 74 (12 days notice)
Magny one of the most active fighters in recent years, is known for taking fights on short notice but no-one expected him to take a fight just 22 days after his momentum hit a brick wall in the shape of Demian Maia at UFC 190.
Coming off seven wins in a row Magny looked a real contender going into August of 2015. His loss to Maia however, didn’t seem to stop his eagerness to get in there and mix it up as he accepted a fight less than two weeks after the loss. He went on to beat Erick Silva and put the loss behind him in double quick time.
7 – Conor McGregor def. Marcus Brimage, UFC on Fuel 9 (21 days notice)
Short notice débutantes in the UFC rarely garner as much hype as what followed McGregor’s destruction of Marcus Brimage in Sweden.
McGregor burst onto the scene with his now infamous “60 G’s Baby!” comments in his post fight interview. He made his mark at the post fight press conference too, setting a precedent for things to come. We all know what has happened since that point but one would wonder where would McGregor be had he not got the call up for Sweden.
6 – Benson Henderson def. Brandon Thatch, UFC Fight Night 60 (12 days notice)
Benson coming off a loss to Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone (who himself, took that fight on short notice), stepped up to take on upcoming star Thatch less than a month after his loss.
Not your typical, get back in there and try and undo the lost momentum, Henderson decided to take a Main Event fight at Welterweight 15 pounds heavier than his more familiar fighting weight. The added weight didn’t seem to effect Smooth as he submitted Thatch in the fourth round.
5 – Rich Franklin def. Wanderlei Silva, UFC 147 (24 days notice)
Coming off three losses in his last five Franklin stepped up to headline UFC 147 to rematch the man who gave him a war at UFC 99.
Never one to shy away from a fight, ‘Ace’ at 37 was under no pressure to climb the rankings or to take extremely big fights on short notice. Franklin, simply wanted to fight. Although it was Franklin’s penultimate fight in his career, perhaps it was the fight that sent him out on top.
4 – Neil Magny def. Kelvin Gastelum, UFC Fight Night 78 (17 days notice)
The somewhat mercurial Magny makes the list again with perhaps the biggest win of his career to date. Magny who had fought 11 times in just over two years prior to this bout stepped in again on short notice to take on one of the rising stars of the UFC in the Welterweight Division. Magny won a close split decision in the Main Event but his cardio never let him down during the five round fight.
3 – Donald Cerrone def. Benson Henderson, UFC Fight Night 59 (13 days notice)
After beating Myles Jury on Jan 3rd, Cerrone announced that he wouldn’t leave Vegas until he had another fight booked.
Cowboy got his wish less than 48 hours later but the problem (or not in this case), was the opponent was a close friend and training partner. Neither guy seemed to upset that they had to fight a friend, they both just looked at it as competition. Cerrone came out on top in that competition. It was the seventh straight win in a row, which after one more win led to Cerrone getting a crack at the 155lbs Championship.
2 – Daniel Cormier def. Anthony Johnson, UFC 187 (25 days notice)
After losing for the first time against Jon Jones earlier in the year, Daniel Cormier was given a gift wrapped opportunity for a second chance at the belt as Jon Jones was stripped of his belt and suspended by the UFC. Although Rumble was expected to be Jones’ toughest test to date Cormier made relatively light work of the knockout artist, submitting him in the third round.
1 – Nate Diaz def. Conor McGregor, UFC 196 (13 days notice)
With every fighter from 135lbs to 170lbs and even Anderson Silva at 185lbs wanting a crack at McGregor since his ascension into super stardom in the UFC, Diaz was offered the opportunity with less than two weeks notice, after dos Anjos pulled out through injury.
Diaz took everything McGregor had to offer in the first round and a half and then systematically and very quickly took the Featherweight Champion apart. While a lot of people were surprised, Diaz was not. “I’m not surprised Motherf***ers” said Diaz in his post fight interview.