After UFC president Dana White cancelled UFC 151 due to an injury to title challenger Dan Henderson, the promotion started shifting fights around, moving light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to the Toronto fight card later in the month.
Just hours after the new main event for UFC 152 was announced, pitting Jones against former champion Lyoto Machida, another change has been made.
According to White, via a report by MMAFighting.com, Machida opted to turn down the fight with Jones. In his place, former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort will move back up to 205 pounds from middleweight, where he’s currently been fighting, to face Jones in the headline bout for UFC 152 in Toronto.
Belfort later tweeted that he got a call directly from White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta offering him the fight with Jones.
He went on to say, “Where a lot of guys are acting like divas I think this is a big challenge for any fighter. I have all the respect for Jones. That’s why you can’t miss this competition. I will not let no one down. I come from the times of Carlson Gracie. He lives inside of me.”
Belfort earned his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Gracie, who passed away in 2006.
Belfort has been in Florida working with the Blackzilians, preparing for his upcoming bout against Alan Belcher at UFC 153 in Brazil, but will now step up on a month’s notice to battle for the UFC light heavyweight strap instead.
The UFC has not decided on a replacement for Belfort to face Belcher as of yet.
Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for more UFC 151 cancellation news as it develops.