In light of the recent cancellation of UFC 151, as well as the announcement of Jon Jones' opponent for UFC 152 changing from Lyoto Machida to Vitor Belfort in less than 24 hours, Dana White is in a tight spot.
While Vitor is a world-class fighter capable of fighting for a title, his recent run of fight cancellations and postponements are almost legendary. His fight with Anderson Silva went from main-eventing UFC 108 to UFC 109 to UFC 112 until finally coming to fruition at UFC 126. While Anderson Silva's injury and eventual surgery was the initial cause of the delays, Belfort's own injuries delayed his chance at facing "The Spider" for the UFC Middleweight title. "The Phenom" was also scheduled to meet Cung Le at UFC 139 but an injury prevented the matchup from ever happening. After taking part in Ultimate Fighter: Brazil as a coach opposite Wanderlei Silva, the two were expected to take face off at UFC 147, however Belfort was forced to pull out of the bout after breaking his hand during training.
Considering Vitor's haphazard run in the UFC recently, could another injury prevent Jon Jones from defending his title in Toronto? With a little more than 3 weeks until from the event, shouldn't Dana have a contingency plan in place in case Belfort pulls out last-minute?
Here are my suggested options:
1. Rashad Evans
After their 5-round war at UFC 145, "Suga" was issued a 7 day suspension for precautionary reasons. In the months following his fight, there has been no real talk about his next opponent. Was Rashad waiting in the wings for a rematch only to have the likes of Chael Sonnen's verbal bashing of Jones leaving Evans speechless. With Rashad helping Vitor in preparation for this bout, I don't doubt he is ready to jump on board quickly should Vitor not be able to fight.
While he would be considered a dark-horse in regards to getting a title-shot, he makes more sense than some other fighters. He's on a five-fight win streak and was able to adapt and defeat late-replacement opponents like Matt Hamill and Thiago Silva. And unlike both Belfort and Sonnen, all of those wins come in the light-heavyweight division.
3. Chael Sonnen
Yes, in his last fight he got his ass handed to him by the current Middleweight champion, Anderson Silva and he hasn't competed at 205 pounds in 7 years, but Vitor hasn't competed as a light-heavyweight in five years and he's getting a shot at the title. With all the trash-talk between Sonnen and Jones, news of this fight could bolster an already stacked fight card. Regardless of what you think of Chael, this is the fight that everyone has been talking about.
What are your thoughts?