Thursday will officially go down as the day of declines. Less than 12 hours after announcing light heavyweight king Jon Jones turned down a last-minute scrap against Chael Sonnen to salvage UFC 151, Lyoto Machida has now passed on the opportunity to headline UFC 152 opposite Jones.
MMAFighting confirmed with UFC president Dana White late Thursday night former 205-pound champ Vitor Belfort (Pictured) has agreed to challenge Jones for this throne on September 22nd.
According to White, Machida wanted more than a month to prepare for his rematch with “Bones.” Because of his decision, White said “The Dragon” will likely have to beat another top tier fighter to reclaim his top contender status.
After hearing the news, Belfort was more than willing to step up to the plate. “The Phenom” was slated to battle Alan Belcher in a middleweight affair at UFC 153 in October, but the veteran couldn’t pass up the chance to recapture the light heavyweight hardware.
White is unsure who Belcher will now face in Brazil.
Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada hosts UFC 152.
Here is the show’s revised roster:
Walel Watson vs. Mitch Gagnon
Simeon Thoresen vs. Seth Baczynski
(FX 8PM ET/5PM PT)
Marcus Brimage vs. Jim Hettes
Charlie Brenneman vs. Kyle Noke
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Igor Pokrajac
Cub Swanson vs. Charles Oliveira
(Pay-Per-View 10PM ET/7PM PT)
Matt Hamill vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Evan Dunham vs. T.J. Grant
Brian Stann vs. Michael Bisping
Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson (Vacant flyweight championship bout)
Vitor Belfort vs. Jon Jones (UFC light heavyweight champion)