Underground Blogger Jack Brown is "The Part-Time Martial Artist," offering a full-time fan's perspective on UFC and major MMA news, developments, or hypotheticals. He earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do a decade ago from Joe Rogan's teenage alma mater Jae H. Kim in Boston, and currently trains at Lauzon MMA.
In this blog, he lays out he lays out the three year history that led to Jones vs. Belfort at UFC 152 on Sept. 22, 2012 in Toronto.
At the moment, the plan is for Jon Jones to defend the UFC light heavyweight championship against Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 in Toronto on September 22nd. While we’re all too well aware that this plan is subject to change, I think it’s worth taking a moment to map the road that led us to this matchup. Though the former champion, Belfort, is a long-time veteran of the sport, I believe that the road to Jones vs. Belfort began exactly three years ago when Belfort made his triumphant return to the UFC in September 2009. Below is a timeline of some of the most significant events that have occurred with both of these fighters over the past three years.
At UFC 103, Belfort defeated Rich Franklin via TKO just over three minutes into the first round. The fight was contested at a catchweight of 195 pounds and headlined the pay-per-view. Belfort was awarded a knockout of the night bonus, and the fight marked the beginning of Belfort’s third stint in the UFC.
At the Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale, Jones lost to Matt Hamill via first round DQ for downward elbows. This marked Jones’ only loss as a fighter and was especially unfortunate for Jones since he was thoroughly dominating Hamill prior to the illegal elbow strikes.
At UFC 108, Belfort was supposed to fight Anderson Silva for the middleweight championship. Silva was injured and the fight did not occur.
At UFC 109, Belfort was supposed to fight Anderson Silva for the middleweight championship. Silva was still injured and the fight did not occur.
At UFC on Versus 1, Jones defeated Brandon Vera via TKO three and half minutes into the first round. The fight headlined the cable broadcast and Jones was awarded a knockout of the night bonus.
At UFC 112, Belfort was supposed to fight Anderson Silva for the middleweight championship. This time Belfort was injured, and Silva fought and defeated Demian Maia instead.
At UFC on Versus 2, Jones defeated Vladimir Matyushenko via TKO less than two minutes into the first round. The fight headlined the cable broadcast and marked Jones second consecutive, first round, TKO victory using his elbows.
At UFC 122, Belfort was scheduled to fight Yushin Okami in a middleweight fight to determine the number one contender. Belfort was pulled from the fight in September so that he could face Anderson Silva for the middleweight championship in February. Okami fought and defeated replacement Nate Marquardt.
At UFC 126, Jones’ and Belfort’s roads crossed. Jones defeated Ryan Bader via submission in the second round. Belfort lost the middleweight championship to Anderson Silva via KO in the first round. For Jones, his main card victory on the pay-per-view resulted in him earning a submission of the night bonus. It was also followed by Joe Rogan’s in-cage announcement that Jones would be granted the opportunity to take his injured training partner, Rashad Evans’, place the following month to fight Mauricio Rua for the light heavyweight championship. For Belfort, it was a disappointing knockout loss via front kick in the headlining fight of the pay-per-view. Silva retained the middleweight championship and he was awarded a knockout of the night bonus.
At UFC 128, Jones won the light heavyweight championship by defeating Mauricio Rua via TKO in the third round. The fight headlined the pay-per-view and marked the beginning of Jones’ current reign as champion.
At UFC 133, Jones’ and Belfort’s roads were supposed to cross again. However, due to his injury, Jones was not able to defend the light heavyweight championship against Rashad Evans. Instead Evans fought and defeated Tito Ortiz in the main event. Belfort defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama via first round KO. The middleweight bout served as the co-main event of the pay-per-view and Belfort was awarded a knockout of the night bonus.
At UFC 135, Jones successfully defended the light heavyweight championship by defeating Quinton Jackson via submission in the fourth round. The fight headlined the pay-per-view and Jones and Jackson were awarded fight of the night bonuses.
At UFC 139, Belfort was scheduled to fight Cung Le in a middleweight fight, but Belfort was injured and withdrew. Wanderlei Silva replaced Belfort and defeated Le.
At UFC 140, Jones successfully defended the light heavyweight championship for the second time by defeating Lyoto Machida via submission in the second round. The fight headlined the pay-per-view and Jones and Machida were awarded fight of the night bonuses. Machida replaced the injured Rashad Evans, who was originally scheduled to be Jones’ opponent.
At UFC 142, Belfort defeated Anthony Johnson via first round submission. The fight was contested at a catchweight of 197 pounds and served as the co-main event of the pay-per-view.
At UFC 145, Jones successfully defended the light heavyweight championship for the third time by defeating Rashad Evans via unanimous decision. The fight headlined the pay-per-view and marked the only time that Jones fought five rounds. It was also the only time a Jones fight went to a decision over the past three years.
Belfort coached against Wanderlei Silva on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, and they were supposed to fight at middleweight at UFC 147. However, in May, Belfort broke his hand and pulled out of the fight. Rich Franklin took Belfort’s place and defeated Silva.
Jones was scheduled to defend the light heavyweight championship for the fourth time at UFC 151. However, his opponent, Dan Henderson pulled out shortly before the fight because of a knee injury. Several other options were proposed by the UFC for a replacement opponent for Jones. Ultimately, UFC 151 was cancelled and Jones vs. Belfort at UFC 152 was announced. Belfort had been expected to face Alan Belcher in a middleweight fight at UFC 153 in October, but that fight will not occur. Hopefully, Jones vs. Belfort will.
Jones’ and Belfort’s roads meet. See you in Toronto.
Get at me with your comments and complaints on Twitter – @jackjohnbrown