Johny Hendricks vs Carlos ConditCarlos Condit was slated to square off with Rory MacDonald in the UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz co-main event on March 16 in Montreal. Plans shift quickly sometimes, however, and that happened on Tuesday when MacDonald had to drop out of the fight due to injury.

MacDonald’s misfortune could turn out to be Condit’s gain.

Condit vs. MacDonald was a high profile fight between two of the UFC’s best welterweights, but Condit’s new opponent may actually give him the better opportunity for a speedy return shot for the UFC welterweight championship.

Condit is just one fight removed from coming up on the short end of a five-round decision, failing to wrest the UFC welterweight strap from Georges St-Pierre.

Despite MacDonald’s withdrawal, Condit remains in the co-main event, but will instead face Johny Hendricks, who is widely considered the UFC’s top 170-pound contender.

St-Pierre will put his belt on the line in the UFC 158 main event against Nick Diaz, an opponent he asked for, leaving Hendricks shell shocked at being passed over.

“Hendricks is definitely a contender right now,” said UFC president Dana White when making the St-Pierre vs. Diaz match-up, “and yes, he’d be next in line.”

That is, as long as he beats Condit. If Hendricks loses, all bets are off, and perhaps Condit leapfrogs him in the race to the belt. And that’s where MacDonald’s misfortune could be a boon for him.

“Fighting Johny Hendricks is the perfect opportunity for Carlos to earn another shot at the UFC welterweight title,” Condit’s manager, Malki Kawa, said in a statement to on Tuesday night.

Now, it’s no given that Condit takes the fight from Hendricks either, and he’s under no misconceptions that stepping into a fight that could launch him back into the title picture rather quickly is going to be an easy task.

Condit is excited for the fight, knowing that Hendricks brings the same aggressive style to a fight that he does.

“While I was disappointed to hear that Rory MacDonald is injured, I am glad that the UFC was able to find a strong replacement for the fight in Johny Hendricks,” said Condit. “He is one of the toughest welterweights in the world, and has quickly risen up the ladder in our division.

“We are similar in that we like to stay active and aggressive in our fights, so this should be a great fight for the fans to watch.”

Condit is never one to back down from a difficult challenge, however, and Hendricks promises to be just that.

“He’s called me out in the past, and now is his chance to try to back that talk up. I’ll be ready for him.”

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