MMA’s worst kept secret was made official late Monday night by the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion. Jon Jones will be stepping in on short notice to challenge Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for his light heavyweight title at UFC 128 on March 19th.
“My goal is to be considered the best light heavyweight fighter in the world,” Jones said. “I feel as if it’s my time. My confidence is already high, I’m already in shape and I have six weeks to make myself even better. I can’t wait for this opportunity.”
“Bones” has good reason to be confident after dominating Ryan Bader at UFC 126 this past weekend. Bader was previously undefeated. Immediately after the win, Jones was informed by Octagon president Dana White of Rashad Evans’ injury and promptly accepted his new role as No. 1 contender.
Rua is fresh off his third knee surgery following a knockout victory over Lyoto Machida at UFC 113 to capture the 205-pound crown. Although Jones is far more dynamic than Evans, the Brazilian is up for the challenge.
“I’ve been training hard for a fight on this date and I was prepared to fight Rashad,” Rua stated. “I face this new challenge as motivation to train even harder. I’m a fighter and I don’t pick opponents.
“I’ll be ready for Jon Jones.”
UFC 128 takes place on March 19th inside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Here is the roster’s revised lineup:
Dan Miller vs. Nick Catone
Manny Gamburyan vs. Raphael Assunca
Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian Loveland
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau
Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani
Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle
Luiz Cane vs. Karlos Vemola
Bredan Schaub vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Nate Marquardt
Kamal Shalorus vs. Jim Miller
Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland
Jon Jones vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion)