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Cain Velasquez could be stripped of UFC title if he can’t fight by March

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Cain Velasquez last defended the UFC heavyweight title in October 2013, and he will have to be back in action by March 2015 if he wants to keep his belt.

Velasquez, forced out of his UFC 180 bout with Fabricio Werdum on Nov. 15 and replaced by Mark Hunt, will likely be stripped of his UFC heavyweight title if he can’t fight early next year, UFC president Dana White announced on UFC.com.

"We’re headed in that direction now," White said. "This next fight in Mexico is for the interim title. So if Cain couldn’t compete again, the winner of this fight would be seen as the champion."

Hunt and Werdum will meet for the interim title at Saturday’s UFC card in Mexico City.

"Werdum is very dangerous on the ground. Everybody talks about his ground game and him maybe being the best submission guy in the heavyweight division, but look what he did to Travis Browne standing up," White said. "His stand up looked unbelievable, and one of the problems for guys like Hunt and Roy Nelson, they’re top 10 fighters, but when you break into that top five the athleticism of some of these heavyweights is too much for those guys."

"But with Hunt, what makes him so exciting is that with one punch he can change everything," he added. "All he has to do is clip you, barely, and he can put you away."