Jon Jones Fallout: 8 Fighters That Took Fights on Very Short Notice and Won
When challenger Dan Henderson was forced out of his title contest at UFC 151, UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones shocked the world when he denied Dana White's request to battle late-replacement Chael Sonnen in the main event.
The UFC-sponsored fighter upset the MMA world as a whole with his selfish decision, which ultimately culminated in the first event cancellation in UFC history.
In light of Jones' refusal to fight Sonnen at UFC 151, I'd like to take a look back on some previous fights where a fill-in opponent arrived and scored a big win.
Here is a peek at eight fighters who took fights on short notice and won.
Paul Daley vs Martin Kampmann
Original Fight: Mike Swick vs Martin Kampmann
Mike Swick was on a roll heading into a UFC 103 title eliminator against Martin Kampmann. Winning his last four bouts, Swick and Kampmann were expected to put on a thrilling battle worthy of determining a challenger for Georges St-Pierre's welterweight championship.
Unfortunately, Swick was forced from the card and replaced by organizational newcomer Paul Daley.
A veteran of Cage Rage, Elite XC and Strikeforce, Daley was a marginally recognizable fighter to hardcore fight fans, but certainly not expected to beat the dangerous Dane.
Kampmann was considered a heavy favorite going into the bout, and rightfully so. Unfortunately for his title aspirations, The Hitman underestimated Daley's striking game and was stopped at the midpoint of the first round.
Daley's win put him on the map. His next bout was scheduled to be against Carlos Condit (which fell through) and then afterwards in a title eliminator against Josh Koscheck.
Rich Franklin vs Wanderlei Silva II
Original Fight: Vitor Belfort vs Wanderlei Silva II
With a weak card and an already changed main event, things looked terribly bleak for UFC 147 when former champion Vitor Belfort was forced out of his rematch with TUF: Brazil coach Wanderlei Silva.
In a surprising twist, the UFC elected to split up a UFC 148 bout between Rich Franklin and Cung Le in order to create a main event that could be deemed worthy of the $45 price tag.
Franklin and Silva battled in an exciting affair that nearly saw Silva even the score with Ace after losing their UFC 99 encounter.
Jumping from division to division and fighting all comers, Rich Franklin has been a great company man on numerous occasions. Such as the following example.
Rich Franklin vs Chuck Liddell
Original Fight: Tito Ortiz vs Chuck Liddell III
In the middle of coaching The Ultimate Fighter: Team Liddell vs Team Ortiz, popular coach Tito Ortiz was forced to withdraw from his coach's battle with arch-nemesis Chuck Liddell.
Not only did Rich Franklin agree to fight Liddell on short notice, but he also filled in at coaching capacity during the final days of the popular reality show.
Franklin knocked out Liddell at the end of the first round in spectacular fashion.
Jamie Varner vs Edson Barboza
Original Fight: Evan Dunham vs Edson Barboza
With less than a month to find a replacement, the UFC searched through their Rolodex to find a lightweight who was willing to meet undefeated prospect Edson Barboza at UFC 146.
Former WEC champion Jamie Varner got the call and agreed to the weighty task. Coming into the fight as a 3:1 underdog, few expected that Barboza would suffer his first career setback at the event.
Seemingly motivated to a level like we had never seen, Varner came out of the gate with an aggressive assault that shocked Barboza.
The first-round TKO put Varner into the spotlight for the first time since his Zuffa release and allowed him a high-profile bout with Joe Lauzon earlier this month at UFC on Fox 4.
Korean Zombie vs Leonard Garcia II
UFC Fight Night 24
Original Fight: Nam Phan vs Leonard Garcia II
King of controversial decisions, Leonard Garcia pulled out disputed victories over both the Korean Zombie and Nam Phan while under the Zuffa banner.
The bout with Phan was rebooked for UFC Fight Night 24, but unfortunately, the Vietnamese featherweight was forced out of the fight due to an injury.
With another exciting rematch available, the UFC called Chan Sung Jung in hopes of booking a rematch to the 2010 Fight of the Year.
Winning the bout with an infamous Twister submission, this late-notice fight allowed the popular Korean Zombie to show the world that he is a legitimate threat.
Chris Weidman vs Alessio Sakara
UFC on Versus 3
Original Fight: Maiquel Falcao vs Alessio Sakara
In his promotional debut, Serra/Longo standout Chris Weidman agreed to face Alessio Sakara with less than two weeks notice.
Dominating the Italian boxer for three rounds, Weidman earned a unanimous decision and make his stamp on the division.
Oh wait, you wanted to see the other one? Ok.
Chris Weidman vs Demian Maia
UFC on FOX 2
Original Fight: Michael Bisping vs Demian Maia
Once again, Chris Weidman proved that he is a company man. In January, there was a mixup with the UFC on FOX 2 card when Mark Munoz was injured in training.
A bout between Michael Bisping and Demian Maia was scratched as Bisping moved up to face original Munoz opponent Chael Sonnen.
Demian Maia was left without an opponent, and with only eight days to cut weight and prepare for a dangerous opponent, Weidman defeated a world-ranked opponent via unanimous decision.
Imagine what he could have done with a proper training camp.
Let's not forget that Chris Weidman offered to fight Jon Jones as a way to save UFC 151.
Brian Ebersole vs Chris Lytle
Original Fight: Carlos Condit vs Chris Lytle
The first time Carlos Condit vs Chris Lytle was called off, Condit got a ferocious replacement in Jake Ellenberger and he narrowly escaped with a victory.
When the bout was booked again at UFC 127, another injury forced a cancellation between the exciting welterweights. Once again a fresh face was brought in, but Chris Lytle didn't fare as well as his would-be opponent.
Brian Ebersole was tapped to meet "Lights Out" at UFC 127, and the awkward stylings of the grappling ace/peculiar striker was enough to fluster, stifle and dominate the world-ranked Lytle.
Winning a unanimous decision, Ebersole has been a staple of the division ever since.
Chris Leben vs Yoshihiro Akiyama
Original Fight: Wanderlei Silva vs Yoshihiro Akiyama
Fresh off of his exciting victory over Aaron Simpson, Chris Leben was not expecting a phone call from Joe Silva regarding UFC 116. After all, the event was only 13 days away and The Crippler had just completed a tough fight against a very game opponent.
Proving that he is always willing to step up to the plate, Leben battled Yoshihiro Akiyama in what was one of the best fights in UFC history. The two slugged it out and exchanged a series of near-knockouts.
Looking like Akiyama would win a unanimous decision, Leben was unwilling to quit. Throwing up his legs as a Hail Mary, the red-haired pugilist locked in a triangle choke with only seconds remaining on the clock.
Jon Jones vs Shogun Rua
Original Fight: Rashad Evans vs Shogun Rua
Apparently Jon Jones either doesn't believe in paying it forward, or he forgot that his championship opportunity came when reigning light-heavyweight champion Shogun Rua agreed to fight him on short notice.
Granted, this bout was made six weeks before it took place, but the fact remains that Shogun was man enough to step up and take on a dangerous opponent with less notice than he would ideally prefer.
Rashad Evans was the original challenger, but was forced out of a UFC 128 bout with Rua due to a knee injury. Jones made the most of it by dismantling Rua in his first PPV main-event.