Source: MMA Weekly
In what seems like a ploy by Dana White and the UFC, it was announced that Shogun Rua, Lyoto Machida, and Ryan Bader could be in line for a title shot against Jon Jones or Dan Henderson should they be convincingly victorious at UFC on FOX 4 on August 4. The announcement seems to be nothing more than motivation for the fighters to have a good show on live television.
I can understand why the UFC would try to motivate the guys to fight harder considering how bad UFC 149 was. Additionally this fight will be seen on live television so good performances from these guys could definitely bring more mainstream exposure to the fighters and the sport.
The one reason why I don’t think they will get a title shot is that all three of these guys have already lost to Jon Jones. Shogun lost his title to Jones and then suffered a beat down at the hands of Dan Henderson. It was a war but Shogun suffered a loss. I don’t see how a guy that is coming off those two losses with a win against Forrest Griffin in between can get a title shot even if he is victorious against Brandon Vera.
Machida lost to Jones last December and has not fought since due to surgery. Beating Ryan Bader, who was also destroyed by Jones, does do much for him. He is still at least one more fight away from getting another title shot after Bader. Ryan Bader is the only one of the three currently riding a two fight win steak with one win over Rampage Jackson. Lets be real though, it was Rampage Jackson. Enough said. Bader is still too raw to get a title shot.
The only way I think these guys could get a title shot is if Dan Henderson were to miraculously beat Jon Jones. Even then though, I think Jones has become so marketable that the UFC would set up an immediate rematch for Jones. The odds are against Henderson in this case even if he were able to beat Jones the first time. So even with an impressive performance, I don’t see any of these guys getting a title shot any time soon.
Update 7/30/2012: In a stranger turn of events that left Jon Jones “scratching his head” via twitter, Dana White revealed that the winner of the main event between Shogun Rua and Brandon Vera will get the next title shot. The announcement leaves Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader definitely disappointed and puzzled. Rua is 1-1 in his last two fights while Vera is 1-2. Those two are hardly good choices for the next title shot. Jon Jones will face Dan Henderson in September.
Update 7/31/2012: It looks like Dana White heard all the bad press he was getting over his big announcement. Today White took back his original statement to include both of the co-main event fights as having an opportunity to fight for the title next if they win impressively on Saturday. You have to give it to White for being a man of the people. When he is wrong and called out for it, he makes the proper adjustments. Can’t say the same thing about the NBA, NFL, or boxing.
Update 8/3/2012: All fighters for tomorrow UFC on FOX 4 card made weight without any issues. Notably Lyoto Machida and Brandon Vera came in under the 205 lb light heavyweight weight limit. Machida came in at 201 lbs and Vera weighed 203.8. Maybe both are suggesting they could make runs at 185 lbs.