A broken left hand has forced middleweight champion Chris Weidman to pull out of his title defense at UFC 181 against Vitor Belfort, the UFC announced Monday night.
The Dec. 6 Las vegas fight likely will be rescheduled for February.
Weidman's trainer Ray Longo thinks the break will benefit his fighter.
"I'm looking at it different," Longo said. "I'm looking at it like I want this guy 100 percent healthy. You give this guy two healthy hands, it's a big difference."
The Long Island native first injured his left hand about three weeks before his last title defense in July against Lyoto Machida. Weidman (12-0, 8-0 UFC) said after the fight that doctors had told him he sprained ligaments in the hand.
Longo said Weidman saw doctors in California on Monday and that his left hand was in a cast. Longo said they had not done any pad work or sparring yet for the Dec. 6 fight against Belfort — who hasn't fought since November 2013.
Replacing Weidman-Belfort as the UFC 181 main event will be Johny Hendricks' first welterweight title defense. He'll fight Robbie Lawler in a rematch of the bout to decide the champion after Georges St-Pierre vacated the title. Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will defend his title as scheduled against Gilbert Melendez in the co-main event at UFC 181.