Two of the men in the running for a title shot this Saturday. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The announcement that the winner of Brandon Vera vs. Mauricio Rua at UFC on Fox 4 this weekend would be getting a title shot did not sit well with many people. It now appears that UFC president Dana White isn't quite holding firm to that statement, and going back to some of the original talk that the winner of Ryan Bader vs. Lyoto Machida would also be in the running for a crack at Jon Jones' title.
"Whoever wins the most impressively on Saturday night gets the shot at the title," White said.
"I put together the fights that fans want to see," White said. "The fans didn't like the Rua and Vera choice, so here it is: The guy that wins most impressively on Saturday night out of the co-main event and the main event will get the shot at the winner of Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson."
Of course, that just means that we're choosing between four different men that were left destroyed by Jones already.
It also doesn't address the possibility of Brandon Vera getting a title shot. Let's say Vera lands a single punch that KO's Shogun or maybe he lands an elbow that causes a cut stoppage while Machida wins a boring decision over Bader, that means Vera gets a title shot?
Let's not forget that Brandon Vera has one win in his last four fights, a decision over Eliot Marshall that he came incredibly close to losing. Beyond that, you have to go back almost three years to a decision win over Krzysztof Soszynski.
Let's be honest about what's happening here. The Fox shows have been determined to need an added sense of importance. Since they're not giving away title fights, they've had number one contendership up for grabs. They did this with Rashad Evans against Phil Davis and with Jim Miller against Nate Diaz. Rather than just having these fights be fights, they're trying to add a layer of importance that just isn't really deserved.
Jones' dominance does provide some difficulties for matchmaking. But beyond Vera's poor record, Shogun is coming off a loss, Machida's last fight was him getting put to sleep by Jones (and is 1-3 in his last 4) and Bader is...not really a title contender. In fact, the four men fighting for a title shot are a combined 6-9 (1 No Contest) in their last 4 fights.
But maybe Dan Henderson can beat Jones and make every potential title fight interesting.
Either way, Dana White says we're going to see the challenger for the light heavyweight title this Saturday. We'll just have to see what happens.