Many of you are wondering how it is that Vitor Belfort, of all fighters, came to be awarded a light heavyweight title shot at champion Jon Jones at UFC 152 on Sept. 22, 2012, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Indeed, Lyoto Machida was initially offered the title shot he earned by knocking out Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4 this past Aug. 4 in Los Angeles. But he turned it down for reasons that are still unclear.
Now we know Mauricio Rua did the same.
That's according to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times who was informed by Lorenzo Fertitta himself:
@lorenzofertitta tells me Shogun Rua also turned down shot at Jones to set up Belfort as Sept. 22 opponent. ... Fertitta says, "Thank god Belfort is from the same generation as LIDDELL, Hughes, etc. REAL fighter!"
"Shogun," like Machida, won by knockout at UFC on Fox 4, though he did so much less impressively. In fact, it took him four hard fought rounds to finish Brandon Vera and with the stipulation in place that whomever was most impressive in victory would become the next number one contender, Rua was passed over and instead booked to square off against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fox 5.
But once "The Dragon" turned down another shot at Jones, that made Rua the obvious next choice. Now we know he was offered the bout and for whatever reason elected to turn it down.
So to get this straight, Machida, "Shogun" and Jones (the light heavyweights) have all turned down fights in the past 24 hours while Sonnen, Belfort, Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman (the middleweights) have all either offered to step up to the plate or actually done so.
Who said the 185-pound division wasn't any good?