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Mauricio “Shogun” Rua now faces Jon Jones at UFC 128

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was scheduled to return to action at UFC 128 against top contender Rashad Evans but Evans sprained his knee ligament during training. After defeating Ryan Bader by submission at UFC 126, Jon Jones has been tapped as the new opponent for Rua. The fight will still be for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title. UFC 128 is scheduled for March 19, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey at the Prudential Center.

The new main event was announced during the UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort PPV broadcast when Joe Rogan offered the title shot to Jones inside the cage after his victory and Jones dropped to his knees and accepted the fight. Rua then entered the cage, said he was, “ready to fight” and shook hands with Jones.

At the post-fight press conference, Dana White stated that the fight came together very quickly. “We found out for sure today that Evans was out. We talked to Rua and his camp about fighting Jones and he accepted the fight right there. There was no back up plan.” Jones said that he’s in great shape and he’ll be ready to go in six weeks. Rua stated, “(Jones) won convincingly and he deserves to fight for the belt right now.

Rua captured the UFC Light Heavyweight Title with his impressive first round KO over Lyoto Machida at UFC 113. One month later, Evans defeated rival Quinton Jackson at UFC 114 by unanimous decision to earn a title shot. After defeating Machida though, Rua underwent knee surgery that kept him out of action until early 2011. Instead of taking another fight, Evans decided to wait for his title against Rua. While training for Rua, Evans injured his knee and was forced out of the fight. Jones is a highly-touted prospect who many believed would get a title shot in late 2011 or early 2012 but now his opportunity comes in just over a month. Jones is 12-1 in his MMA career with his only loss coming via DQ against Matt Hamill. This will be Rua’s first title defense.

23 COMMENTS
  • bigbadjohn says:

    What a way to announce the fight! Shogun’s got some new things to worry about now

  • GIKE MOLDBERG says:

    This is a much better fight than if Rashad was facing Shogun-I am actually worried for Rua because Jones is a totally different opponent to prepare for-Hopefully Rashad will finally drop down to 185

  • bigbadjohn says:

    lets not even start with the move to 185 for Rashad talk. What does that have to do with hime blowing out his knee? Hes lost one fight at HW and LHW combined. To Machida. The phenom wrestler chose to stand and bang with a karate ace and got popped, it had zero to do with weight, size, or cardio.

  • Niv says:

    Good for Bones this sounds like a very exciting match-up, my money is still firmly on Shogun though I think this has the makings of a legendary fight.

  • LiverPunch says:

    I think Jones will win this and easily. He is the best fighter at 205 and will be the best ever in a few short years. He just easily out wrestled one of MMAs’ best wrestlers. For me the hardest challenge for Jones at 205 is Machida. I don’t think Machida is a better fighter but I do think Machida would pose the greatest threat to him. Jones will win this by TKO or submission on the ground.

  • twyg says:

    Well this should be a wake up call to every fighter; never turn down an interm title fight. Jones has said he wouldn’t have taken a fight for the title against Rashad if Rashad were champ. I wonder if Rashad feels the same way. The only thing to worry about is turn around time for Jones. Will he be able to put together a solid training camp? I have Jones taking this fight though. Jones is a bigger stronger younger and time will tell better version of Anderson Silva. They both have the same body type and the ability to turn any fight into a high light reel.

  • Rich S. says:

    I knew Jones was one to look out for as far as title contention goes, but I was really surprised by his handling of Bader. I thought Bader’s only strengths in this fight would be his size and power, and Jones actually overpowered him the entire time.

    Great way to announce it, too. I don’t remember ever seeing anything like that.

    Jones is a scary, scary fighter, and he might just be the 205 champion before the year’s end.

  • Jones is bad no doubt, but just like everyone buying into the Vitor hype tonight, Im stickin with rua, He’s as fast or faster, has real KO power and wont be so easy to control on the ground. Bader was lost on his back, and we dont know if Bones has the cardio to go into the deep waters of round 4 and 5…should be great though.

  • LiverPunch says:

    No I don’t think this is hype Dave. He threw Matyushenko , Hamill and Bader around like rag dolls so he has got to be considered the best wrestler at 205. His Ground and pound is some of the best in the biz. He has good , unorthodox stand up that comes at you from a distance and crazy angles. He has a great guillotine choke and most impressive of all , he is only 23.
    I think it was not the best thing to give it to him on such short notice. You should have the best training camp for the biggest fight of your career but he will only get 5 weeks to train for Shogun.
    I take back the “win easily” part because I didn’t realize it was only 5 weeks away but I will still go Jones via TKO or submission in rd 3.
    I’ve been saying this for a few years now. Jon Jones will be the best fighter MMA has ever seen. He is 23 and I think he is already the best at 205 on the planet. In a few years he will be the best HW too. I am so impressed with this guy so far that I think he would be a top 5 UFC HW if he was to go up now let alone if he gains 10 pounds.
    We are going to amazing things from this guy.

  • twyg says:

    Yeah five weeks is really short notice for the fight of your life, but Shogun has only five weeks to prepare as well. I have read on other sites that some people don’t think Jones is ready; that he needs one more fight against a top five guy. The fact is his fight tonght was short and who else is deserving of a title fight? Rampage comes to mind, but does anyone think he would be in shape to go five rounds on just five weeks notice? The UFC got lucky that this fight ended quickly, and Jones wasn’t injured. If this fight had gone longer or the other way I have a feeling they would have waited til the Rich/Forrest fight was over and announced Shoguns new challenger at the post fight presser. On a different topic all together; that is why Andersen Silva is the best p4p fighter on the planet and GSP is number 2. All this nonsense recently about GSP being the p4p best was just blown the fuck up. When Mr. Canada learns to finish fights then come talk to me.

  • gy614x says:

    This is a good fight.

    Do I think Jones is the future of 205? Absolutely
    Will he hold the belt for a long time? Absolutely
    Will he win this fight? In my opinion no, he wont.

    Jones has yet to face somebody who can pose a threat standing up, yes he beat Vera but hes washed up.

    Jones may have good wrestling, and he has knockout power, but I just can’t see him getting past Shogun…right now anyway.

    The dudes 23 he has a bright future, in the next 2-3 years provided he doesn’t pull a Vera, he’ll be the king of his division.

    but for now, Shogun by tko rd. 2

  • Rece Rock says:

    Jones is exciting and is the future but I don’t know if the express train is the way to the championship I’m still favoring shogun but jones does have the tools for the upset, this is going to be a hell of a fight and jones will have a hell of a career I just don’t know If his championship
    Reign will begin at 128… The hype is so thick I myself had problems thinking straight about the match up… Guess we will see what happens either way it’s an exciting time in the UFC

  • Either way should be epic.

  • elsicilian says:

    Not only has Jones beaten everyone he’s faced thus far, he has utterly dominated Matyushenko , Hamill, Vera, O’Brien and Bader. None of his last five opponents has made him look vulnerable for even a second, so the brilliance we’ve seen so far is probably nowhere close to his current ceiling. Shogun will be a good challenge, but it’s hard to imagine Jones failing to dominate him as well (mostly because we haven’t really seen him do anything but dominate increasingly better and better fighters) …

  • buzzcramp says:

    Jones is one of those guys that is so, so much better than everyone else , it’ll take a few more fights of people betting against him for everyone to realize he should never be bet against. He reminds me of Roy Jones in his prime when fans didn’t know better than to think he could be beaten at that time. I think Jon Jones is that good that he’s going to make everyone else look like they never were that good.

  • MickeyC says:

    I like Jones, he will be champ at 205, but I’m unsure if it will be n 6 weeks. He has never been in the cage with some one of shoguns caliber.if he can surprise him, hurt him early,& get him off his game, for sure he could win, but this is a HUGE step up for Jones.

  • Niv says:

    I have to say that I’m a little surprised with how many people are convinced that Jones will beat Rua. This site is tempered a lot more than others, I just think that Rua is the man at 205lbs.

    As good as Jones is I just don’t see him beating the alpha male at this point. If Rua stays healthy he’s going to be the guy to beat for several years still. Let’s not forget until Machida ran into Rua he was considered unbeatable, I’m expecting Rua to prove once again he’s the best.

  • LiverPunch says:

    Rua is the man but I have never seen anyone like Jon before. He is the best young fighter I have ever seen. The guy has the game figured out. The only dout I have is him fighting off his back.

  • MCM says:

    I too think Jon Jones is something else. But Niv is right, Machida was once the most unbeatable 205er in the world too. I think Jones has proven that he can hang with the best and with Rashad out, he’s the most logical choice for the title shot, but there are still some questions.
    How is he off his back?
    How will he react to really getting hit in the face?
    Can he come back from adversity?
    Can he maintain after getting rocked?
    Will he fold under a tight submission or will he find a way out of it?
    Jon Jones is a lot like Shane Carwin, he’s running through guys so easily that he’s having the chance to face adversity.
    I think it’s gonna be a hell of a fight, and I’ve seen nothing from Jones yet that makes me think he can’t win this….but it’s the stuff I haven’t seen that makes me wonder.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Tough one and MCM raises some interesting points. I would have to agree that he is the most impressive young talent around today if not ever (GSP was up there). I think that he will be champ but Shogun is a very, very good fighter. I think he beat Machida twice and has names such as Overeem, Arona, Rampage, Liddell, Randleman, Little Nog in his win column but… Jones is better than any of those guys were at the time Shogun faced them with only Machida being (possibly) as big of a challenge.

  • this is a win win for Jones. If he loses then he can easily work his way back up to the top again and if he wins, then I see him getting stronger for the next few years, which is what I think will happen.
    When he gets in the ring, I hope the choice is his.

  • Lethal Liquid says:

    Jon Jones is the new prototype. ShoGun is ultra-talented. Jon Jones presents too many problems. His reach and his wrestling which is his most imposing weapon. Jon takes him down and wins the belt with ground and pound.

  • JOEgun says:

    Jon Jones is freakin huge! he’s a big 205er. judging by his performances in the octagon he is definitely deserving of a title shot, i just figured he would perhaps get another fight or two first, but oh well, he says he wants to fight the best and theyre giving him the best sooner than later. we’ll find out in 6 weeks if he is THE best in the division.

    im still going with Shogun in this fight. mainly because i think Shogun has all the tools and will use them to come out with the win.
    Cant wait!

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