Well, it just can’t be that easy. Less than 24 hours after Dana White announced the cancellation of UFC 151 due to the champ Jon Jones’ unwillingness to fight Chael Sonnen, his newly agreed upon opponent, Lyoto Machida has now refused to fight as well. The match-up seemed to be the next logical step, but as White put it, ‘apparently we now have guys turning down fights.’ Currently, Machida’s reasons for denying the title fight are unknown, but regardless the UFC must continue on. The chance to fight for the title has moved on down the line, landing in the hands of former light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort.
Coming off back-to-back victories against Yoshihiro Akiyama and Anthony Johnson, Belfort was expected to take on Alan Belcher at UFC 153, but when a title shot opportunity, you can’t let it pass without good merit. This is not the first time that Belfort has thought of a move back up to 205 either. Citing the drop to middleweight as becoming more difficult as he has aged. Ironically, Belfort had mentioned Jones in a recent interview, stating, “I am not afraid of Jon Jones or somebody else… It’s not for me to choose my opponents.”
While Belfort does not have the wrestling skills of Dan Henderson, he does posses some very unique tools. Vitor is known for having some of the fastest hands in the sport, and has shown incredible knockout power. Many analyst had drawn parallels in Belfort and Jones’ career starts as both started knocking out and beating veterans of the sport at a young age. The match-up continues to answer that classic question of talented veteran versus young talent and as the passing of the guard has been made apparent, the young talents currently hold scorecard.