The UFC was hoping to have Lyoto Machida face light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 152 on September 22nd, but Machida turned down the fight yesterday.
Machida told the UFC he wanted to have the fight take place at UFC 153 in Brazil, but the organization wanted the fight at UFC 152.
With Machida no longer being an option, the UFC turned to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and he also turned down the fight.
At that point, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta called former champion Vitor Belfort and he accepted the fight.
The question then became why he turned down the fight. Ed Soares is the manager for Machida and talked to several media outlets today on why his client turned down the fight.
Soares stated that Machida did not want to take a fight with Jones on less than four weeks notice. If the former champion lost to Jones again, he would need to reinvent himself and would likely move down to the middleweight division.
“The Dragon” understands that his next fight now will not be a title shot and would like to get another fight in the octagon before the end of the year.