Late last week the MMA world caught wind that MMA legend Dan Henderson suffered an injury which lead to the cancellation of his September 1 (UFC 151), scheduled bout against Jon Jones (16-1), the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion.
In an attempt to salvage UFC 151, UFC President Dana White offered to give Lyoto Machida (18-3) the rematch he’d reportedly been looking forward to. Machida declined to step in so the fight was offered to former middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen, who gladly accepted.
Jones declined the proposed replacement bout.
And just like that, UFC 151 became the first UFC event to be canceled since Fertitta and White took over the promotion 11 years ago. Days later it was announced Jones would face Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 on September 22 in Toronto, Canada.
Belfort who has campaigned in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions in recent years, is a former UFC light heavyweight champion who holds a professional record of 22-9.
On his Twitter account, the 25-year-old Jones expressed regret in regards to the UFC 151 debacle as he tweeted, “Carrying the cross for my company's decision. If someone has to take the blame, I will accept full responsibility for the way UFC 151 was canceled. I want to sincerely apologize to all the other athletes/fans whose time and money was wasted. I feel terrible about the way that was handled."
Although the cancellation of UFC 151 has irked many, there are other MMA fans who’ve actually called it a blessing in disguise. This group has argued that the cancellation of the event has lead to the vast improvement of UFC 152, a card which arguably didn’t merit a pay-per-view date in the first place.
It is difficult to argue with at least part of that argument since the newly revamped UFC 152 card now looks stacked from top to bottom.
-(Main-Event) Jon Jones (Champion) vs. Vitor Belfort – For the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
-(Co-Main Event) Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson – For the vacant Flyweight Championship
- TJ Grant vs. Evan Dunham
- Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann
- Cub Swanson vs. Charles Oliveira
- Matt Hamill vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Whether or not Belfort can test Jones is an entirely different story. However, as is customary, he will definitely come prepared aiming to shake up the MMA landscape. Lucky for MMA fans, UFC 152 is only less than three weeks from the originally scheduled September 1 card. Patience is a virtue.