Newly crowned champ Cain Velasquez will be out of action for six to eight months with an injured right shoulder, sources with knowledge of the situation told MMA Fighting.
UFC president Dana White subsequently confirmed the news to MMA Fighting following Wednesday's UFC 125 press conference at the MGM Grand Hotel.
"Yep, it's true," White gloomily responded when asked if Velasquez would have to be shelved. He said the summer of 2011 would hopefully bring Velasquez's return.
When he does return, his next foe is already lined up. Junior Dos Santos has been promised a chance to fight for the belt, and he will likely be forced into a waiting game while Velasquez heals up.
The San Jose, California-based fighter won the belt just two months ago at UFC 121, earning a first-round TKO over Brock Lesnar in a dominant performance.
Known for an aggressive style that melds powerful kickboxing with take downs and ground work, Velasquez has had a swift and impressive run up the heavyweight ladder, capturing the title within four years of his MMA debut. His record stands at a perfect 9-0.
A soft-spoken fighter, Velasquez gained a new level of fame while promoting the fight to Latino audiences in Mexico and the US, and going on to defeat a mainstream star in Lesnar.
The sources declined to name Velasquez's exact injury, and White was not sure, only to say that champ has indeed found himself on the shelf for the foreseeable future.