If you’re making travel plans to head to Newark, N.J., on March 19, rest assured that the new main event for UFC 128 is now official, with the promotion formally announcing the bout between light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (19-4) vs. Jon Jones (12-1).
Coming off of a dominant submission win over fellow young contender Ryan Bader at UFC 126, Jones received the impromptu title shot news from commentator Joe Rogan before even stepping foot out of the cage. Jones is replacing teammate Rashad Evans, who had to withdraw from the bout after suffering a recent knee injury.
Shogun is no stranger to knee injuries himself, sitting out all of 2008 and half of 2010 as a result. However, despite a lackluster start to his UFC career, Shogun has gone 3-1 in his last four and knocked out then-champion Lyoto Machida at UFC 113.
“I’ve been training hard for a fight on this date and I was prepared to fight Rashad,” Rua said in a press release. “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.”
Despite the short notice and his relative lack of experience, Jones is feeling confident going into the Shogun fight.
“I feel as if it’s my time,” Jones said. “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.”