With less than two weeks before UFC 157, the promotion has scratched Chad Mendes from the bill due to lack of a viable opponent.
Mendes initially expressed his doubts as to his participation on the Feb. 23 card via Twitter on Sunday.
“Well guys it looks like I’m off the Anaheim card," Mendes announced via Twitter. “Sucks pretty bad. I’ll keep everyone updated with what I find out. Sorry.”
Mendes’ status on the card became questionable on Feb. 8 when his original opponent, Manny Gamburyan, suffered an injury while training.
In the crowded featherweight contender race, being removed from UFC 157 could prove to be a big setback for Mendes. Currently ranked No. 1 among featherweights by UFC and third by ESPN.com, Mendes was seeking to secure his standing in the division with a victory over the hard-hitting Gamburyan. A win at UFC 157 would have been Mendes’ third in a row since his first-round knockout loss to champion Jose Aldo in January 2012.
Meanwhile, Aldo is scheduled to defend his title Aug. 3 against lightweight contender Anthony Pettis. Aldo recently defeated former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision at UFC 156.