Image via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
This has been one of the craziest days in the history of the UFC, and you would have thought it would have ended with a whimper. Think again. Lyoto Machida has turned down a title shot at UFC 152 against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. So who will fight Jones, you ask? Chael Sonnen? Chris Weidman? Nope. How about Vitor Belfort (via MMA Fighting):
Jon Jones will not be facing Lyoto Machida at UFC 152 after all.
Instead, Vitor Belfort will fight Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title on Sept. 22 in Toronto. UFC president Dana White confirmed the change late Thursday night.
According to White, Machida turned down the title shot on Thursday. Belfort volunteered to fight Jones on one month's notice and was granted the title shot by the promotion.
Honestly, I'm as shocked as you are. Belfort (21-9) is coming off a first-round submission win over Anthony Johnson at UFC 142. He's a former UFC light heavyweight champion, but hasn't competed at 205 since 2007. He was scheduled to face off with Alan Belcher at UFC 153, but that's out the window now. Perhaps Weidman can step into that fight, who knows.
Jones was scheduled to meet Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on September 1st, but Henderson withdrew with an injury. Jones turned down a bout with Chael Sonnen, so the whole card was scrapped and Jones was expected to face Machida in Toronto. Now it will be The Phenom across the cage from him. What a day in the UFC. What a day.
UPDATE - The UFC has now confirmed the matchup.