UFC held a media conference call today in advance of UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera which takes place this Saturday, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Headlining is “Shogun” Rua, a former UFC Light Heavyweight champion. He won the title in 2010 but lost it in 2011 to Jon Jones. Since losing the belt, he had the 2011 “Fight of the Year” against Dan Henderson who will be fighting Jon Jones at UFC 151 in Las Vegas for the title. He is facing Brandon Vera for a match which now has title implications.
UFC President Dana White said on the call that this weekend’s winner would be in line for a title shot against the winner of that bout: “Shogun Rua just came off the fight of the year last year. He’s been one of the greatest fighters in the last decade. This guy knocked out Rampage, knocked out Chuck Liddell, knocked out Mark Coleman, knocked out Lyoto Machida. A win puts Shogun right back at the top of the division. He’s probably the number 2 guy in the world. I already announced that the winner of Vera and Rua gets the shot. We like impressive finishes. We like guys that finish. If you look at Shogun’s last fight, his fight with Dan Henderson was one of the sickest fights of my life. Guys who fight on Fox are in line for title shots. We put important fights on Fox. That’s what you’re gonna see.”
When asked about the implications of a rematch with Jones for the title, Shogun Rua stoicly said: “I’m only focused on Saturday, not on Jones. Vera is a guy that’s very well known in the MMA business and the UFC. He has a strong name and Glover still has a long way to run. Right now the best option is a guy who’s well known and Brandon Vera is the choice.”
Vera was initially cut from the UFC after several losses, but made a comeback with a unanimous decision win over Elliot Marshall at UFC 137 and has been wanting a rematch with Jones since his first round via TKO loss to the champ in March 2010: “Dana throwing that out there is like winning the lottery twice. Just watch me on August 4th.My mindset preparing for Shogun has been amazing. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and you only get this call once. Training has been great. People from all over the globe have been coming in to help me get in shape for Shogun. I had a headstart on camp while preparing for Te Huna and it’s been good. It’s been amazing. I thought Jones was young punk when we fought and that I got what I deserved for underestimating him. I didn’t train hard and didn’t take him serious.”
White said he has not spoken to Jones on his acceptance of a rematch, but stated that fighters such as Jones need to accept that they are going to fight whomever is put in front of them: “When you’re the top guy and keep beating people, you might see another guy coming your way you already beat. It is what it is. It is part of the business.”