Fast Matchmaking Led to Jones’ Title Shot
When it was confirmed Rashad Evans’ knee injury would keep him out of the UFC 128 main event light heavyweight title bout with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva and president Dana White had to work some magic to find a suitable replacement.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson wasn’t willing to take such a big fight on short notice, so the UFC switched gears and decided to offer Jon Jones the opportunity if he defeated Ryan Bader at UFC 126, which he did.
Rua was informed of Evans’ injuries and of the plan to offer Jones the fight during UFC 126 event weekend.
“We told Shogun that if this kid wins, we want to put him in there for the fight,” said Dana White during the UFC 126 post-fight press conference. “Right before Jones and Bader came out, him (Rua) and his team accepted the fight”
Moments after Jones’ hand was raised following his submission win over Bader, the 23-year old received the offer.
“Literally, after he won, I walked up in the Octagon and told Jon, you want to take this fight, and he said yes,” said White. “That’s literally how the fight was made.”
White also revealed there was no back up plan if Jones lost to Bader.
UFC 128 takes place on March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
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