Following the fallout of UFC 151 headliner Dan Henderson due to a torn MCL, the UFC scrambled to patch the card with another big name opponent for Jon Jones to compete with. After Jones declined Sonnen, the event was canceled and Jones was moved to UFC 152. The title shot moved on to Lyoto Machida. When Machida declined the shot, the call went to next in line, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, who had just come off a war with Brandon Vera at UFC on Fox 4. Rua was in fact capable of being approved to fight on the UFC 152 card, despite early reports of his precautionary suspension. With approval from a doctor, any fighter (outside of knockouts) can be taken off medical suspension early. But that wasn’t the camps concern as they shared the same thoughts as Machida’s camp. There simply was not enough time to prepare for such a fight.
“We were in Sao Paulo and my phone rang about midnight. It was Lorenzo’s. Lorenzo was on another call, so I talked to him like half hour later. He offered me a rematch against Jon Jones because Lyoto had declined it and asked me to give him an answer in ten minutes. I hung up and Mauricio was there with me. We talked and called Dida in Curitiba and we got to a conclusion we should accept the rematch, but only if Shogun had a couple of months to train and it would mean a fight later in October or in November. I said that to Lorenzo but he said there was no time because Jon Jones’s fight is on September 22nd. Unfortunately, he couldn’t give us this time but he understood.” – via Tatame.com
A tough call for any fighter and camp to make, but the argument could easily be made that it was the right or wrong decision. Title shots only come once in a blue moon, yet a second loss to the champ will guarantee that you will not have a ‘prepared’ title fight any time soon (if ever again) with that dominating phenom in the short window of opportunity that is your fight career.