SEATTLE – The winner of the UFC on Fox 5 co-main event between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Alexander Gustafsson will be the next challenger to the UFC light heavyweight championship belt currently strapped firmly around Jon Jones’ waist.
“Unless there’s some crazy (expletive) that happens, which always does,” said UFC president Dana White at Thursday’s UFC on Fox 5 pre-fight press conference.
Barring injuries, draws, and the like, White made it clear that he intends for Shogun or Gustafsson to be the one to step in the Octagon with the winner of the April 2013 bout between The Ultimate Fighter 17 coaches Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen.
“Look at the fights Shogun has had in his past two or three fights. He is the gatekeeper right now to that title,” White declared.
“If Alexander can beat Shogun, he’d get the shot. Shogun wins, he gets it.”
No ifs, ands, or buts.
Shogun has alternated wins and losses in his past six fights, but his opponents read like a laundry list of the best light heavyweights in the world: Jon Jones, Lyoto Machida, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, Brandon Vera.
Gustafsson hasn’t fight quite the pedigree of champions that Shogun has, but he has won five straight, including Thiago Silva, Vladimir Matyushenko, and Matt Hamill in the last three.
It would be difficult to deny the winner of their fight deserves a shot at the belt, and White won’t deny the winner.
Shogun vs. Gustafsson is your UFC light heavyweight No. 1 contender’s bout.
“The winner of this fight will get the next shot.”