As UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson came crumbling to the ground on Thursday, an unlikely figure threw his name in the ring – or the Octagon as it were – to try and help stave off the unprecedented move.
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, when he heard that the event would have to be scrapped after light heavyweight champion Jon Jones declined to face Chael Sonnen on just eight days notice, offered up his services.
A month and a half removed from his latest fight against Chael Sonnen, Silva hadn’t been in preparation for a fight and thus would be unlikely to safely make middleweight. He reportedly offered, via manager Ed Soares, to take a light heavyweight bout at UFC 151 if it would mean saving the event.
Unfortunately, the offer came in a little too late, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship had already pulled the plug on UFC 151.
The Silva bout, had White accepted the champ’s offer, would not have been against Jones.
With Dan Henderson injured and a deal for a new fight for Jones at UFC 151 unable to be struck, White announced that Jones would be moved to UFC 152 on Sept. 22 in Toronto, where he would rematch Lyoto Machida.
Unfortunately, Machida later declined that bout; leading White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta to give a call to former 205-pound champion Vitor Belfort, who immediately agreed to fight Jones.
Belfort had been fighting at middleweight and was scheduled to face Alan Belcher at UFC 153 in Rio in October, but didn’t hesitate in returning to 205 pounds and a shot at the UFC light heavyweight belt he used to own.
Anderson Silva’s offer to fight at UFC 151 was first reported by MMAFighting.com.
- Jon Jones
- Chael Sonnen