A rematch between Benson Henderson and Michael Chandler will have to wait.
The lightweight contender announced late Wednesday evening that an injury has forced him to withdraw from his upcoming 160-pound catchweight bout opposite Chandler (19-5), which was scheduled to be the co-main event of Bellator Japan on Dec. 29.
Officials have already booked Sidney Outlaw (14-3) to step in as Henderson’s replacement. It is not clear if the matchup will remain in the co-main event spot.
Henderson broke the news on social media and lamented that he would not be getting a chance to compete in Japan, the country where he defeated Frankie Edgar to win the UFC lightweight championship back in 2012.
“I just wanted to take the time to apologize and say that I got an injury and I will not be able to participate in the Dec. 29 festivities in Japan, so I won’t make it out there,” Henderson said. “I got hurt, I got an injury and I can’t fight, so I’m sorry. I’m hoping that Bellator sets it up, reschedules it for later on, Chandler and I, and we can be able to settle some things.
“I just want to say sorry to all the Japanese fans, I apologize. I was excited, I was stoked to make it back out to Japan and perform for you guys once again, but I’m going to miss it this time. I am sorry, but I’ll make it up to you guys.”
Henderson did not disclose details of the injury, nor when he expected to return to action.
His bout with Chandler was to be a rematch of their Bellator 165 encounter that Chandler won by split decision to successfully defend his lightweight title. Since that encounter, Chandler has gone 2-3, losing his belt and regaining it only to lose it once more this past May when featherweight champion Patricio Freire defeated him by first-round TKO.
The 27-year-old Outlaw has won nine straight fights, including a victory on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. His current run of success has also taken place across a number of notable regional promotions such as CFFC, Island Fights, Ring of Combat and Titan FC. Outlaw made a successful return to Bellator in November, defeating veteran Roger Huerta by unanimous decision.