If we're to believe Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White -- and that's a give or take proposition -- the Mauricio Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson light heavyweight bout set for later on this evening (Sat., Dec. 8, 2012) at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, at UFC on Fox 5: "Henderson vs. Diaz," is battle for top contender status in the 205-pound division.
Of course, the boss could simply be employing the old motivational tactic of promising big things for big performances, the track record for which is iffy at best.
"Shogun" himself was last involved in a similar scenario at UFC on Fox 4 when he knocked out Brandon Vera in round four. He looked less than stellar in the process, however, and ended up in the unenviable position of having to take on a young up-and-coming lion.
That lion being Alexander Gustafsson.
Ever since the 25-year-old's loss to Phil Davis in April 2010, there's been no stopping the Swede. He's run off five wins in a row with the difficulty of each bout increasing as he takes the next step up the ladder. A victory over Rua may not actually put him next in line for Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones but he'll be as close as it gets.
Time to step up.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC on FOX 5: "Henderson vs. Diaz," beginning with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook scheduled for around 3:45 p.m. ET. In addition, we will also provide LIVE, real-time results of the main card action as it happens throughout the evening this upcoming Saturday, starting promptly at 8 p.m. ET.
For more on this weekend's event be sure to check out our complete "Henderson vs. Diaz" archive right here.