The UFC officially announced this week that rising light heavyweight star Jon “Bones” Jones will replace training partner Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC 128. Jones will challenge reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, following Evans’ withdrawal due to injury.
Despite only being 29 years of age, Shogun has already had a remarkable career, having won PRIDE Fighting Championship’s 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix in addition to the UFC light heavyweight championship. He holds notable victories over Chuck Liddell, Mark Coleman, Alistair Overeem, Antônio Rogério Nogueira, Evangelista Santos, Kevin Randleman, Ricardo Arona, Lyoto Machida and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
The 23-year-old Jones, who ended the undefeated streak of Ryan Bader via second round stoppage at UFC 126 last Saturday, said during an appearance on Bruce Buffer’s “It’s Time” show on the Sherdog Radio Network that he was planning to “fight the body” and not the name.
“I’m just embracing this moment and trying not to be intimidated by any of it,” said Jones. “I’m excited. I’m trying to remember that no fight’s a big fight and not to fight anyone’s name or face but fight the body. Fight the body and do the things that I’m normally doing in training camp. I feel really great.”
Jones thoroughly dominated the very tough Bader last Saturday en route to a second round submission win and was surprised with the offer of a title shot immediately after his victory was announced, while he was still in the cage. “Bones” now has six weeks to build onto the training camp he put together for the Bader fight in order to prepare himself for the biggest bout of his young career.
“Usually I spend the first two weeks of my training camp getting in shape,” said Jones. “I’m already in shape, so I have a great base to start off [from] physically. I can even make myself that much better physically. I’ll have an eight-pack instead of a six-pack my next fight hopefully.”
UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones takes place in just under six weeks on March 19, 2011 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Thanks to Mark Wayne for contributing to this article.