Jul. 7, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Anderson Silva celebrates after defeating Chael Sonnen during a middleweight bout in UFC 148 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
One more for the "old school" guys.
Following Vitor Belfort's lead, who jumped at the chance to take on light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 152 when no one else would (sans Chael Sonnen), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White is thankful (and relieved) that his seasoned veterans obliged with his requests to step up and participate on the upcoming UFC 153 fight card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Oct. 13, 2012, in attempts to salvage an event that was recently bombarded by injuries.
UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo along with Quinton Jackson, who were lined up to headline and co-headline the card, were recently struck down with injuries that unfortunately forced them to bow out of their bouts against Frankie Edgar and Glover Teixeira, respectively.
Hoping to avoid another UFC 151 catastrophe, White called on his ‘old school' guys, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, former heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and current light heavyweight contender Stephan Bonnar, to step up to the plate and deliver.
To everyone's relief, they all agreed to take one for the team and participate on the Rio card.
USA Today has the word from White, after the jump:
"We're back on track. Anderson Silva wasn't scheduled to fight at all. I called him today, and he's shooting a commercial in Brazil. Anderson Silva steps up, and Stephan Bonnar wants to fight him. The Teixeira vs. Maldonado fight comes together, and then Nogueira was standing right there with Anderson shooting the commercial with him, and he said he wanted to fight, too. This is old-school UFC. A card is in jeopardy, but guys that are world champions and superstars stepped up and jumped in and saved the card. This is why the fans love this sport and why we went on a 12-year run without canceling an event."
This isn't the first time "The Spider" agreed to step up on relatively short notice in attempts to help out his employers. When news broke of the UFC 151 mess, Silva called up his boss, White, and offered his services to fight on the card on days notice to prevent a cancellation and help out the undercard fighters, in the process.
In what will be his third trip to 205-pounds with the UFC, Silva now headlines UFC 153 against Stephan Bonnar, a long time staple with the promotion who was recently hinting at retirement if he didn't get a big-name fight soon. He received what he asked for and will now look to shock the world by upending Anderson's 16-fight win streak.
It won't be easy, as the 185-pound kingpin has proven that he's just as lethal with 20 more pounds packed on his frame.
Not long before he got the nod to compete, "Big Nog" was pleading to the UFC to get him a fight and that he was indeed ready to compete after plenty of time off to recuperate from the injuries he suffered at the hands of Frank Mir back at UFC 140 in Dec. of 2011. So it comes as no surprise that the former PRIDE FC heavyweight champ jumped at the chance to hijack Silva's phone call with Dana in attempts to get himself on the card.
Fabio Maldonado, who was left out of the praise party by White, also stepped up on relatively short notice and will replace "Rampage" as he takes on Teixeira in a 205-pound contest. Win, lose or draw, Maldonado undoubtedly earned some 'cool points' with the higher-ups at ZUFFA by accepting the bout opposite a very dangerous opponent.
All's well that ends well.