On Monday, White announced that the winner of the UFC on Fox 4 main event between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Brandon Vera would get the next title shot at 205 pounds.
The shock over the decision came as a surprise to most because the reigning light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones literally walked through both fighters within the last two years.
Add that to the fact that Brandon Vera has gone 1-2 with one no contest in his last four fights, and everyone was left scratching their heads at the mind boggling decision maker by the most powerful man in mixed martial arts.
Even UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones was perplexed at the idea of facing either of those competitors after making a strong case that it should take either of them quite a winning streak to earn another trip to the cage with him.
“Scratching my head,” Jones wrote on Twitter when hit with the news of the new contender to be crowned at UFC on Fox 4.
So after a day of venomous backlash from the masses of UFC fans, White opted to once again open up the light heavyweight title shot to any of the top four competitors competing at UFC on Fox 4 this weekend.
“When the fans speak, we listen. So whoever scores the best win, whoever gets the fans excited by going out there on Saturday and looking the most impressive, he will get the winner of Jones vs. Henderson,” White told MMAWeekly.com content partner Yahoo! Sports.
“It is down to what these four guys do Saturday night in the Octagon. Winning isn’t enough, they’ve got to win impressively. Any one of these four fighters can take things into their own hands and make a title shot happen.”
The four guys White referenced include Rua and Vera as well as the other featured light heavyweight tilt between former champion Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader.
The reigning king at 205 pounds might still be left scratching his head a bit because he’s finished both Machida and Bader as well within the last two years, but his options are now a bit more open.
Jones still has his own big test ahead as he faces former Strikeforce and Pride champion Dan Henderson at UFC 151 coming up in September, and should he lose the belt then it obviously opens up a whole new list of scenarios.
For now though, the four light heavyweights on this weekend’s card are all fighting for something special and the one that puts on the most impressive performance should be a very happy man come Saturday night.