Carlos Condit at UFC 154 Weigh InsThe Ultimate Fighting Championship’s plan to stock up UFC 158 with a plethora of welterweights is already looking like a good idea, as one 170-pounder has already been forced off the card.

Rory MacDonald was slated to square off with Carlos Condit in the UFC 158 co-main event on March 16 in Montreal, but he has been forced off of the card due to injury. MMAWeekly.com sources confirmed MacDonald’s removal, which was first reported by MMAFighting.com.

Wanting to keep Condit in a co-main event caliber fight, the UFC quickly shuffled the deck and pulled Johny Hendricks out of his scheduled fight with Jake Ellenberger and slotted him in opposite Condit, according to a report by official MMAWeekly.com content partner Bleacher Report and later confirmed by UFC officials.

Condit is coming off of a loss to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre in his last trip to the Octagon. He held the interim champion designation going into that fight and took GSP the distance in a bout that was awarded Fight of the Night honors, but couldn’t capture St-Pierre’s belt.

The fight with Hendricks, who is the No. 1 contender to winner of UFC 158’s headlining bout between St-Pierre and Nick Diaz, would be a critical victory for Condit and keep his name right at the top of the list for another shot at GSP.

Condit in return would be a huge addition to Hendricks’ hit list. A victory over him would further cement Hendricks as the top UFC welterweight contender, and make it very difficult for the UFC to match St-Pierre or Diaz against anyone else outside of an immediate rematch or, if he wins, St-Pierre stepping into a superfight with the likes of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

MacDonald’s only loss in the UFC has been to Condit via TKO stoppage at UFC 115 nearly three years ago. He has since been rocketing up the welterweight ranks on a run of four consecutive victories, including Nate Diaz and, most recently, BJ Penn.

A victory in a rematch with Condit would have sent MacDonald’s stock through the roof, possibly setting up a very difficult decision for the youngster, who is edging ever closer to a title shot with the belt wrapped firmly around teammate Georges St-Pierre’s waist.

Jake Ellenberger is now left to wait and see whom the UFC can line-up as a possible replacement.

Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz headlines UFC 158 on March 16 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

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