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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The UFC's decision to go with Vitor Belfort against Jon Jones next month at UFC 152 turned heads, mostly because Belfort hasn't fought at 205 lbs. in some time, and hasn't competed at all since January. It was an especially curious choice considering the rash of talk about Chael Sonnen this week, but Belfort said this week that Sonnen didn't deserve consideration for that fight in the first place.
"I understand why Jones cannot fight Chael," Belfort said in an interview with Sportsnet.ca. "He doesn't deserve to fight Jones. And I know why this fight doesn't mean anything to Jones... [Sonnen] gets fights with trash talking. So I just put myself out there. I didn't put it onto Twitter. I don't need to pick a fight the way he did. They way I pick fights is I call the man who makes the fight."
“I thought if I jump in, I'm a guy on a winning streak. I have history in the weight division, and I think there will be interest. I want to support all the fans and everybody on the card, I didn't want it to be cancelled. We all needed that. That's the type of person I am. I work for UFC. I've been doing this for 17 years. I was so happy to come and represent the fans, the UFC, my coaches, everyone. I work hard, bro."
Penick's Analysis: Belfort is the beneficiary of a rare opportunity, and of the UFC's refusal to push back Jones' return to action beyond September. Had they been willing to move him to October, Jones would be fighting Lyoto Machida or Shogun Rua a second time in Brazil. Instead, they opted to keep him on the next card of September after canceling UFC 151, but did go the curious route of not offering it to Sonnen a second time. Sonnen's offer came simply because they wanted to pull something off on such short notice, so it's not that surprising they didn't put him in this time around, but on that same note, Belfort doesn't make much more sense. Regardless, that's the fight that will happen on Sept. 22, and Belfort's going to try to take full advantage of it.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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