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Pietro Menga
@italianomma, Instagram

Pietro Menga’s UFC run is over before it started.

The 29-year-old Englishman received his walking papers from the organization less than two weeks after what was supposed to be his debut with the company. Booked as a short-notice replacement for an injured Justin Scoggins opposite one-time flyweight title challenger Tim Elliott at UFC on FOX 26, Menga was unable to make the 125-pound limit and he was told by a doctor to stop cutting weight prior to the weigh-ins, which led to the cancellation of his first Octagon opportunity.

Menga told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that he learned of his release during the holiday season.

“My Christmas gift was getting cut but it won’t break me,” Menga said. “I’ll fight in Europe somewhere versus some top opposition around February, March, then again if I have to and hopefully earn a rightful contract with a bit more notice than 12 days. Gutted, but this setback won’t stop me from achieving my dream and light up that division.”

UFC on FOX 26 took place on Dec. 16 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Menga was announced as Scoggins’s replacement on Dec. 3.

The weight cut was made even more difficult for Menga as he was in the process of bulking up to 145 pounds to audition for an upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, he explained on a recent episode of The MMA Hour. In his 13-fight undefeated pro career, Menga has competed primarily at flyweight.