And we thought six days was short notice.
When Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson morphed into Nurmagomedov vs. Max Holloway last Sunday, it seemed to test the limits of last-minute change to a fight card. Then came Friday, when Holloway was declared medically unfit to fight the next night ... and in stepped Al Iaquinta. On one days' notice.
It turns out that these changes to UFC 223 were not an unprecedented turn of events. Between training injuries, drug test failures and various other misfortunes, UFC fights fall off the schedule all the time. And when it's a championship bout slated to headline a major event, the promotion scrambles to pick up the remaining pieces. Dana White & Co. have even booked title fights on one days' notice before.
Here are this decade's previous replacement title fights booked on short notice (not including those for interim belts, which sometimes appear out of nowhere and carry less gravity):
Event: UFC 128
Date: March 19, 2011
At stake: Rua's light heavyweight title
Original challenger: Rashad Evans
New fight's advance notice: 42 days
Result: Jones by TKO (Round 3, 2:37)
Notable: A star was born, and a superhero, too. Hours before Jones was to enter the Octagon in Newark, he was out looking for a meditation spot in a nearby New Jersey town when he witnessed a robbery. Jones chased down the crook and held him for police. Then he went to the Prudential Center and demolished "Shogun" Rua to become, at age 23, the youngest champion in UFC history.
Event: UFC 169
Date: Feb. 1, 2014
At stake: Barão's bantamweight title
Original matchup: Barão, who at the time was interim champion, was to challenge for Dominick Cruz's bantamweight belt
New fight's advance notice: 25 days
Result: Barão by TKO (Round 1, 3:42)
Notable: Barão went from interim champ to champ without throwing a punch, as he was promptly promoted after the oft-injured Cruz dropped out of their scheduled fight at this event with a torn groin.
Event: UFC 177
Date: Aug. 30, 2014
At stake: Dillashaw's bantamweight title
Original challenger: Renan Barão
New fight's advance notice: 1 day
Result: Dillashaw by KO (Round 5, 2:20)
Notable: Soto, who was scheduled to compete in one of the event's prelim bouts, was bumped up to the main event after Barão was hospitalized on the morning of weigh-ins. You might say Soto was the Al Iaquinta of his time.
Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping II
Event: UFC 199
Date: June 4, 2016
At stake: Rockhold's middleweight title
Original challenger: Chris Weidman
New fight's advance notice: 17 days
Result: Bisping by KO (Round 1, 3:36)
Notable: This was a rematch of a November 2014 bout in which Rockhold was dominant and made it look easy, finishing with a one-handed guillotine submission.
Event: UFC 214
Date: July 29, 2017
At stake: Vacant women's featherweight title
Original matchup: Cyborg vs. Megan Anderson
New fight's advance notice: 32 days
Result: Cyborg by TKO (Round 3, 1:56)
Notable: With the victory, Cyborg captured a belt that had been stripped from Germaine de Randamie, who had refused to defend against Cyborg. The Dutchwoman's manager cited the Brazilian's drug-test failures.
Max Holloway vs. Jose Aldo II
Event: UFC 218
Date: Dec. 2, 2017
At stake: Holloway's featherweight title
Original challenger: Frankie Edgar
New fight's advance notice: 24 days
Result: Holloway by TKO (Round 3, 4:51)
Notable: After Edgar pulled out of the bout with an injury, the UFC turned to Aldo, who had reigned at 145 pounds in the UFC/WEC for six years before being dethroned by Conor McGregor in 2015. Aldo became interim champ in 2016 but had that belt taken away by Holloway in June 2017. Then this shot at redemption fell into his lap, but it was not to be.