UFC 152: After Vitor Belfort Who Will Challenge Jon Jones?

Chris AlfaroContributor IIISeptember 17, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 11:  UFC Fighter Jon Jones  arrives at the 2012 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Come this Saturday, Jon Jones will be defending his title against Vitor Belfort. Make no mistake about it, Jones is going to beat Belfort just as he has every other former Champion placed in front of him.

The question is, what comes next?

There's been a huge shakeup in the light heavyweight division since Henderson pulled out of UFC 151. It seems like Henderson has lost his title shot because he failed to disclose the injury soon enough.

Machida too looks like he lost his number one contender spot when he refused to fight Jones on short notice.

So who is left to fight Jones for the title? The obvious answer emerges at UFC on Fox 5.

Shogun Rua is facing Alexander Gustafsson in what looks a lot like a number one contender fight. Rua is a former champion and obviously that gives him an edge in getting another shot to reclaim his title. Gustafsson on the other hand is a once-beaten fighter who has been steadily climbing the light heavyweight ranks.

When these two square off, we will have an obvious candidate to take a fight with Jones. If Rua wins, he'll have amassed a three fight win streak and beaten a top prospect. If Gustafsson wins he'll have worked his way through increasingly difficult opposition and beaten a former champion. Either man will be an easy sell as a number one contender.

And what about Jones and Machida? Supposedly the two will be fighting before years end. Both men are known to have no objection of taking some time off after their fights.

Given the frequency with which Jones fights, in December we could have two contenders ready for an early- to mid-year fight with the champ.