Jon Jones | Sherdog.com


Jon Jones just graduated from prospect to full-blown contender.

“Bones” will square off with light heavyweight king Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the main event of UFC 128, going down March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Rua was originally supposed to face Jones’ teammate Rashad Evans at the event, but Evans has reportedly suffered a knee injury that will prevent him from competing.

Following a dominant win over Ryan Bader at UFC 126 on Saturday night, “Bones” was offered the title shot by the organization and accepted on the spot.

“I feel great. God is so good,” said Jones. “I’m going for a world title, baby. Let's do it.”

Rua then entered the cage to face off with his new opponent.

“He's a great fighter. I respect him,” said Rua. “I'm a professional. I [will] fight [against] anyone, no problem.”

The victory marks Jones' third consecutive win inside the Octagon. The unorthodox light heavyweight holds a 6-1 record since joining the promotion and owns career victories over Stephan Bonnar, Brandon Vera and Vladimir Matyushenko. His lone defeat was a controversial one, as Jones was disqualified against Matt Hamill at “The Ultimate Fighter 10” finale for using 12-to-6 elbow strikes.

Rua was last seen in the cage dethroning former champion Lyoto Machida, knocking the karateka unconscious at UFC 113 nine months ago. A former Pride Fighting Championships star, “Shogun” has been on the shelf recovering from knee surgery since becoming champion. Rua is a former member of the Chute Boxe camp and is known for his aggressive muay Thai attack, knocking out 16 of his 19 career victims.

UFC 128 will also feature a bantamweight duel between two former champions as Urijah Faber meets Eddie Wineland. The card will also showcase a heavyweight tilt between Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Brendan Schaub as well as lightweight scrap between Jim Miller and Kamal Shalorus.

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