White Changes Tune, Says Four Fighters Now Competing for Shot at 205 lbs. Title | UFC NEWS
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Brandon “The Truth” Vera, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, and Ryan “Darth” Bader are now all competing for the next shot at the UFC light heayweight championship currently held by Jon “Bones” Jones. For his part, Jones must first successfully defend his title against MMA legend Dan Henderson at UFC 151 in September.
White announced yesterday that the winner of the upcoming UFC on Fox 4 main event between Rua and Vera would be the next in line to compete for the UFC light heavyweight title. That announcement was met with disapproving reactions from fans and even the champion himself, who said on Twitter he was “scratching his head” over the decision.
In an about face, White now says that “Whoever wins the most impressively on Saturday night gets the shot at the title,” according to USA Today.
“I put together the fights that fans want to see,” White said. “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.”
Many consider the UFC light heavyweight division to be lacking in depth at present, as evidenced by the fact that Jones has beaten all four competitors previously. Furthermore, Bader is 2-2 and Machida is 1-3 in their last four fights, while Rua is 1-2 in his last three contests and is coming off a loss to Henderson. Vera has won only one fight in the past three years and is 1-2-1 in his last four bouts; he would be 1-3 were it not for a failed drug test by Thiago Silva.
“There’s no doubt that Vera is getting the opportunity of a lifetime,” White said. “He’s getting the opportunity of a lifetime, but we’ll see what happens. We’ll see if he makes the most of it.”
White also dismissed Jones’ criticism of the announcement of who he would face next.
“He can scratch his head all he wants,” White said. “Scratch away.”
UFC on Fox 4 airs at 8 p.m. ET on Fox this Saturday, Aug. 4.