There are some who feel that the UFC’s PPV numbers haven’t been all that great lately. However, there are three fights that are supposed to change that opinion--the first one being the grudge match between Rashad Evans and Jon Jones. The next one is the heavyweight title bout between Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos. Then of course we have perhaps the biggest rematch in UFC history between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen.
I think that for the most part, everyone has accepted that Overeems failed prefight drug test will result in him not being able to compete at UFC 146. The real question is “who will take his spot?” The UFC is going to want to put in an opponent that will keep the PPV buy rate high for UFC 146. Enter Jonny “Bones” Jones.
Dana White has already said that Mir vs Valasquez is still going to happen. Many have speculated that Fedor Emelianenko may be the fighter to step in against Dos Santos. However, with a fight on the horizon with a different promotion, this seems highly unlikely. Plus, if history has taught us anything about Fedor, it’s that he will never come to an agreement with the UFC. Then we have Mark Hunt. There is a Twitter campaign to get Mark Hunt this title shot and I personally think that this matchup would be very exciting. However, this matchup only appeals to the hardcores and I don’t think that it will produce the amount of buys that Zuffa is looking to accomplish. There is also a potential rematch with Fabricio Werdum. I think that this matchup will probably happen one of these days, but this is a rematch that Zuffa would probably prefer to take place in Brazil.
So what heavyweight fighter steps in? None of them. At least, that’s what I think the UFC is planning. I think they are hoping to make a matchup that depends on the outcome of UFC 145.
UFC 145 Jones vs Evans is on April 21st. Three days later, on April 24th the Nevada State Athletic Commission will have a hearing for Alistair Overeem in which he will likely be denied a license to compete at UFC 146. The UFC will announce the new main event shortly after this hearing. If Jon Jones is able to defeat Rashad Evans and come out relatively unharmed, I think that they will offer him the fight. UFC 146 is about a month and a half after UFC 145. This is about the same amount of time that Jones had in between his fight with Ryan Bader and his title shot against Mauricio Shogun Rua. Jon Jones has always claimed to be a company man and the opportunity to make history by holding the heavyweight belt and the light heavyweight belt simultaneously would only add more incentive.
I understand that Dana said that Jones would need to clean out the 205 division prior to moving up, but as circumstances change, minds do as well. This is just a theory that I have developed as I have been watching this story closely. Thoughts?