Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort square off during the UFC 152 pre-fight press conference at the Real Sports Bar and Grill in Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012.
In the main event at UFC 152, Jon Jones (16-1 MMA; 10-1 UFC) defends his UFC Light Heavyweight title against Vitor Belfort (21-9 MMA; 10-4 UFC). This is Jones's 4th defense of the belt. The USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings have this as a battle between the #1 Light Heavyweight in the world, and an opponent unranked in that division, which is pretty odd for sure. The UFC 152 PPV airs live Saturday night September 22 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
What is there to say about the set-up for this fight that hasn't already been discussed? This was of course originally meant to be Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson at UFC 151. But when Hendo went down to injury, and Jon Jones famously refused to fight Chael Sonnen, we ended up with this. Belfort is a really weird challenger here. Yes, he is a former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, though only barely, and has not fought at 205 since 2007. This is about as lopsided a title fight as you're going to get in the UFC.
How do these two stack up?
Jones: 25 years old | 6'4" | 84.5" reach
Belfort: 35 years old | 6'0" | 74" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Jon "Bones" Jones had arguably the best year for any fighter ever in 2011, winning the UFC Light Heavyweight title from Shogun Rua and then nearly cleaning out the division in a single year. He's kept that up in 2012, but also faced a growing backlash from fans. That backlash only intensified when he turned down the Sonnen fight, earning the wrath of Dana White, who blamed Jones and coach Greg Jackson for the UFC 151 cancellation. Fan perception aside, there's no denying that Jones is a unique talent and one of the best fighters in the world today. He's on the fast track to being the most dominant champion in the history of the UFC's most prestigious division.
"The Phenom" Vitor Belfort is the last man standing from the earliest days of the UFC. Since UFC 12, Belfort has been in and out of the company, producing a string of highlight reel moments. In 2004 he won the UFC Light Heavyweight title when his glove cut Randy Couture's eye, but Belfort promptly lost the belt back to Couture. He's been at Middleweight since 2008, and has gone an impressive 5-1 during that run, including a rare KO win over Rich Franklin. Belfort is renowned for his hand speed, and has become a more patient, more technical striker in recent years, but to say he has his work cut out for him here would be a huge understatement. A Belfort win would trump Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre as the most shocking UFC upset of all time.
Why should you care?
Yes this is one-sided, but there's always that chance that the underdog will pull through. Plus, Jones has entered that Anderson Silva territory where he's simply a must watch fighter, regardless of the opponent.
More UFC 152 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.