This day just keeps getting stranger. On the same day the UFC scrapped the first official card in their history, the UFC has now named yet another replacement for the light heavyweight title fight with champion Jon Jones. Vitor Belfort will be moving back to light heavyweight to take on Jones for the title on September 22 in Toronto. MMAFighting first reported the news.
Former champ Lyoto Machida, who picked up the shot at “UFC on Fox 4,” turned down the opportunity to face Jones on short notice for the second time today. Machida, who did not expect a title shot for months, had been taking some time off after fighting on the August 4 card. UFC President Dana White stated that Machida would lose his title shot by turning down the bout.
Belfort, a former light heavyweight champion himself, quickly jumped at the chance. No replacement has been announced for Belfort’s previously scheduled UFC 153 bout with Alan Belcher. Belfort is 3-1 since returning to the UFC at UFC 103, the lone loss coming from middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s front headkick KO.
Belfort stated via twitter:
“I just finish the call with my boss @lorenzofertitta and @danawhite I want to thank [both] for put me in where a lot of guys are acting like divas I think this is a big challenge for any fighter that is alive [in] the game.”
UFC 152 will take place September 22 live from Toronto, Canada. The card will be co-headlined by the inaugural flyweight title bout between Demetrious Johnson and Joe Benavidez. The fight card will also showcase a middleweight fight between Brian Stann and Michael Bisping.
[UPDATE] UFC President Dana White has stated that Belfort was given the shot over Chael Sonnen because that was a one-time offer for that fight and because it “wouldn’t feel right” after canceling an entire fight card at longtime partner Mandalay Bay” [UPDATE]