Lyoto Machida Turns Down Title Shot; Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort To Headline UFC 152 On September 22
According to a report by MMAFighting.com on Thursday, Jon Jones will now face Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 152 on September 22. Jones was originally scheduled to face Dan Henderson in the main event of next weekend's UFC 151, however, Henderson was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury.
On Thursday, UFC President Dana White held an impromptu media conference call to announce the news. Things took a bad turn, though, as White added that Jones had turned down a fight with Chael Sonnen, who agreed to step in to face the champion on eight days notice. As a result, the UFC was forced to cancel its first event in the history of the promotion.
Minutes into the call, White announced that Jones would meet Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC 152 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on September 22 in a light heavyweight title rematch. UFC officials released posters of the event hours later featuring Jones and Machida and all seemed well.
That is until things took one more interesting turn. White informed MMAFighting.com late Thursday that Machida turned down the proposed title fight and that Vitor Belfort would step in to face Jones.
September 22 will mark Jones' fourth straight title defense since capturing the crown last year. At just 23-year-old, "Bones" became the youngest champion in UFC history after dispatching of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at 2011's UFC 128. Since the monumental victory, Jones has gone on to defeat three former champions in one year: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Lyoto Machida and most recently, Rashad Evans.
Belfort, meanwhile, was slated to meet Alan Belcher at UFC 153 on October 13 in his home country of Brazil. September 22 will mark "The Phenom's" return to 205-pounds for the first time since 2007, having gone 5-1 as a middleweight. Belfort has gone 7-1 in his last eight outings, including recent back-to-back stoppage victories over Yoshihiro Akiyama and Anthony Johnson.