UFC on Fox 4 just got weirder.
The light heavyweight division is one of the most talented in the UFC; it’s top tier contenders will be on full display on Sat.
Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua will headline the card with a fight against Brandon Vera. Vera hasn’t been good for three years and that was at heavyweight. Lyoto Machida will take on Ryan Bader in another highly anticipated match.
Initially, the plan for Jon Jones next opponent, assuming he takes care of Dan Henderson at UFC 151, was an incentive based one.
I wrote about it yesterday.
Whoever finished their fight most impressively would get a title shot. I liked that plan. It would place the onus on the individual fighters to put on a show. As a champion, you have to be an exciting fighter, you have to excite fans.
You have to prove that you can carry a card.
Then Dana White changed the plan.
Word broke that the winner of Shogun vs Vera would garner a title shot. Dana White admitted as much yesterday. It was a strange move.
Jon Jones tweeted “Scratching my head,” when he found out the news. I was doing the same thing when I heard. Vera doesn’t deserve a number one contender match. Vera shoudn’t be in the same Octagon with Shogun, let alone, in a fight that determines UFC gold. His last significant win came against Frank Mir at heavyweight.
I am not sure if Shogun deserves a number one contender’s bout. He’s coming off a loss to Dan Henderson, which was one of the greatest fights ever, but nonetheless still a loss. And his previous battle with Jones wasn’t close.
Fight fans agreed.
They pestered White until he reversed his decision.
“I put together the fights that fans want to see,” White told USA Today
“The fans didn’t like the Rua and Vera choice, so here it is: The guy that wins most impressively on Saturday night out of the co-main event and the main event will get the shot at the winner of Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson.”
The whole situation is interesting. Is this just a marketing ploy? I wouldn’t put it past Dana White to cause a stir to hype a fight.
I’m not sure Alexander Gustafsson doesn’t deserve a title shot. He’s certainly close. Perhaps he needs one more fight.
The UFC certainly has Gustafsson in their plan.
“He’s ready for a big fight now too,” White said. “(We’ll) get him lined up with one of the top guys soon, and we’ll fight out where he sits and where he fits.”
I would like to see him lined up against the Bader-Machida loser. I would really like to see him against Jones. Stylistically, both are lanky fighters who can win in different ways. Jones doesn’t like the comparison though.
Evans, I’d like to see him with another wrestler. I don’t think it is appropriate to be comparing us. The only thing we have similar is that we are both tall. Were different fighters, I kick fast, I’m good in the clinch and accurate and he has great boxing.”
“I like his swagger though, he exudes winning when he steps in the cage, he has the potential to be a star, he just has it.”
Is this a budding rivalry? I’m interested. Are you?