The UFC on Fox 5 showdown between Alexander Gustafsson and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua was perceived by many as a title eliminator to decide who would take on the winner of Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen, which is set for April 27, 2013.
That, however, may not be the case. Because Jones-Sonnen is so far down the road, Saturday night's victor, Gustafsson, may be called upon to prove his mettle once more before challenging for UFC gold.
This scenario picked up steam in the aftermath of UFC on Fox 5, when Dana White mused about the health of 205-pound contender Dan Henderson, and his readiness to take on Lyoto Machida this February. White then suggested that Gustafsson might have to take Henderson's place if he is unable to go.
Not sure where @danawhite thinks he's hearing that my knee isn't doing ok. It's doing great. Slowly training up just like I do for every training camp.
(Hat tip to MMA Weekly for tracking down the tweet and matching it up with White's comments.)
Henderson's knee injury came into public view a week or so before he was scheduled to fight for the title at UFC 151 in September. He was forced to bow out of the match, which led to the UFC cancelling the event after champion Jon Jones refused to fight late replacement Chael Sonnen on short notice.
If Henderson's knee is a go and he's indeed ready for his February contest with Machida, it will be interesting to see how the UFC goes about determining who will take on the winner of Jones vs. Sonnen.
Perhaps White's conjecture over Henderson's readiness is latent hope that some kind of solution will work itself out. Or perhaps there truly are conflicting reports circulating about Henderson's knee.
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