Dana White Shifts Gears and Opens Up Title Shot Opportunity to Top Performer at UFC on Fox 4

July 31, 2012
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Ryan Bader vs Lyoto MachidaNo one can accuse UFC president Dana White of not listening to the fans and being a big enough man to change his mind.

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.

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  • phrankthetank

    You have to give Dana credit for listening to the fans. Still equates to jones rematching someone he’s demolished within the last 2 years though. Assuming he beats Hendo of course

  • jonnypatrick

    What if both fights are boring? Then what Dana? Have the winners fight one another to see who fights the winner of Jones/Hendo?

    • RubeKegal

      I say bring in Phil Baroni….he’s the guy we need but don’t deserve.

  • fries171

    Why can’t he listen to us and make anderson bump u and fight jones or gsp bum up and fight anderson they are getting older and we want to see super fights you are the boss make them do it or send them to strikeforce to make ends meat. money talks lets put that shit to work and make them do it

    • jmat13

      The timing has to be right for it.

  • stak

    Where’s Gustafsson in the title picture? I think he should get a shot before any of these four guys.

  • Mario

    Thank you

    But what if Machida knocks out Bader with a flying kick?

    And Shogun blows through Vera in seconds?

    Then what? LOL

    • RubeKegal

      Ironically I see both happening just like you say. Vera’s muay thai is solid, but this is also the same guy who almost got KO’ed by Elliot Marshall.

  • atmosphere

    who are these “fans” that are calling for Vera to be in contention for the belt?

    are said fans time traveling from the year 2006 while listening to Nelly on their 20gb iPod while doing the Soulja Boy?

    • Ememay

      Ha ha, best thing ever written on these comments sections. Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk sees nothing funny about this comment. I could pile on the 2006-isms, but I’ll leave it at Nelly, Soulja Boy and 20 G iPods.

  • MuayThaiFood

    Sorry, but I can’t stand the thought of Bader or Vera fighting Jones. Three fights ago Bader got beat by Tito Ortiz…come on. And Vera hasn’t eve n earned the fight with Shogun. These guys are both multiple fights away from a title shot IMO.
    I’d rather see A.G. or G.T. against Jones than either of these two.

  • I’d rather see Silva VS Jones then Silva VS GSP. No offense to GSP I love him but I’d like to see him fight Chael Sonnen if he went up in weight for a challenge.

  • jerrymanning

    There is no way Vera or Machida should get a title shot after this fight.
    Unless Bader or Rua wins really impressively Gustufsson should get the next title shot assuming there wont be a close decision in the Hendo vs Jones fight that deserves a rematch

  • B-rok

    i think everyone is assuming that jones will be the one who is fighting. I’m not saying i think he will lose to Hendo, but i do think he is moving up. It is the only way this can really make sense. I love Shogun and I don’t think he was completely healthy versus Jones. That being said he can’t beat Jones he is just too small. Machida is the only fighter that had a chance of beating jones, but proved that when he gets hit he loses focus. Jones has great opportunities at heavyweight. Cain or JDS aside, Werdum, Cormier, Mir, Travis Browne all are interesting match ups.

    • Jones wants a fight or two at HW. He’s keeping his LHW belt until someone beats him for it.

      • B-rok

        If that is the case then the LHW division is going to be boring for a while. Out of all the fighters who we’ve talked about moving up or down Jones makes the most sense. He is a huge LHW. I don’t think anyone cuts more than him to make weight. Before the Evans fight he said he was walking around at 250. Thats a huge cut. Eventually, he will be a heavyweight and honestly to be called the greatest of all time he’ll need to move up. Anderson’s biggest problem was he was fighting Maia and Leites and Cote. Its approaching that point for Jones.

        • Lesnardo

          Right on the spot.

          Honestly, I don’t see why people are not nuthugging on JDS the same way they are nuthugging on Jones. JDS cleared out the division already. He beat everyone worth fighting except for Reem.

          Jones is fighting smaller dudes at 205. One of the problems I saw with Anderson is that he is fighting at a weight class full of fighters that were pushed out of 205. Rich Franklin, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson (at least at that time) all moved down because they couldn’t hang at 205.

          Silva would have troubles against Shogun or Machida. THose would be good fights. And Silva can’t touch Jones, who is too big for him.

  • omcclave

    I think most impressive fights Phil Davis for the title shot

  • Lesnardo

    Dana pulled a smart comeback here.

    Only way Vera would get a shot is if he absolutely demolishes Shogun. Anything less, Dana is going to simply say that the winner of Bader and Machida was more impressive.