Belfort was the UFC’s third option after former 205-pound champions Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua turned down a chance to face Jones with about four weeks remaining before the fight.
For the first time in the 11 years, the UFC was forced to cancel a card yesterday when Jones turned down a fight with former middleweight top contender Chael Sonnen.
Jones, who has wins over Machida and Rua, was slated to fight Dan Henderson on September 1 at UFC 151 in Las Vegas. But Henderson was forced to pull out due to injury, and Jones refused to fight Sonnen on eight days’ notice. Belfort (21-9) was scheduled to fight Alan Belcher on October 13 at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro.
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