UFC 152: Jones vs Belfort

So here it is, the new matchup of UFC Light Heavyweight Championship fight of Jon ‘Bones’ Jones vs Vitor Belfort.  Is this the kind of matchup that quenches the thirst of MMA fans after the disappointing news that Dan Henderson would not be capable of fighting for the belt earlier this month?  Or should a fighter like Lyoto Machida be next to battle the champ, who is now fighting a man who recently defeated the scale tipping Anthony Johnson.  As exciting as this fight is for many mma fans many can’t help but to feel a little disappointed to see Dan Henderson forced to the side after sustaining a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

These injuries constantly plague our sport but the reason this one was different is because it didn’t result in a substitution of a fighter, it instead resulted in the UFC’s first ever card cancellation.  The UFC will now promote UFC 152 and completely erase the company’s UFC 151 promotion.  Depending on who you ask you may find that several people are pointing the finger toward different individuals but the truth is that this sport finds itself at the mercy of these injuries and last minute evacuations from the fight cards.

When the UFC first learned the news, that Henderson was out, a call was made to Chael Sonnen who jumped at the chance to fight for the UFC Light-Heavyweight championship, Jon Jones, however, had different plans. Chael Sonnen, who recently lost his second title fight against middleweight belt holder Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva, was extremely delighted at the news that he could have his second opportunity for a title fight in under three months.  Of course Chael Sonnen hopped at the opportunity to challenge the light heavyweight champion for his belt but what would champion Jon Jones gain in such a title defense.  It’s apparent that Chael Sonnen has had his virtues when it comes to fight promotion but would fighters really flock to another ppv event starring a fighter who lost a match that was quite possibly the most hyped fight in UFC history?  Chael Sonnen may well get his chance to challenge for the light heavyweight belt but he should definitely be put to the test in this division by some truly title contending fighters before being given a title opportunity.

Lorenzo Fertitta, a UFC fight promoter had this to say about offering Chael Sonnen the title shot, “When Chael stepped up, I thought we were good, I honestly never thought of the possibility that Jon wouldn’t fight.”  What would Jones have to gain from such a title defense?  If he loses he would lose to a fighter who just moved up to the division and lost twice to the middleweight champion Anderson Silva and if he wins it would have been expected.  It was Jones who stated that preparing for a fight with Dan Henderson was nothing like preparing for one for Chael Sonnen and that it would require more than the five days of training to make the appropriate adjustments.

It wasn’t until the UFC offered the fight to Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort before the UFC finally had an opponent in place to face Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.  Extending the training camp to both Jones and Belfort seems to help make the competition even kilter for both combatants.  In response to questions arising to Fertitta in regards to Belfort getting the offer Fertitta stated “He replied to me in literally a minute, ‘I’m in, bro,’ “.  This was surely a relief to UFC brass who had been struggling with this card more than any other in recent memory.

In a quote posted on Yahoo! Sports Dana White can be seen stating,

“At the end of the day here, Jones should have fought. He had a full training camp and he would have been fighting a guy for the light heavyweight title who had just been knocked out six weeks ago in a middleweight title fight. Jones absolutely should have stepped up and taken the fight to avoid this. All of this is [controversy] because of him, not Lyoto.”

The article at Yahoo goes on to state that Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping had something to say on the matter as well, which hardly surprised us,

“I’ve taken short-notice fights for the UFC a bunch of times, three or four times,” he said. “I was told before weighing in for one fight that I was fighting again in six weeks. That wasn’t a nice telephone call to make to my girlfriend, who’d just booked a holiday with the kids, I can assure you. But the UFC has provided me with a great lifestyle and I’m here for them.

“Jon Jones likes to talk about where he comes from, but the reason he now has a Bentley to wrap around a tree is because Dana White and the UFC have built this sport up from zero. Dana and the company needed him and he basically bitched out.”

Some pretty impressive talk from a pretty impressive talker.  If he does manage to work his way into a title shot will his words be a motivator for the champ or will it cause Jones to fight with blinders on?  So far Jones has managed to rise above trash talk, see Rampage Jackson’s pre fight press for more on this, but this could be just the start of Michael Bisping slander campaign.

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