UFC 135 official; Jones to make title defense

VANCOUVER -- A few tidbits from UFC president Dana White today, who held his usual court with reporters after the UFC 131 news conference:

If everything checks out with his health, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will have his first title defense against Quinton Jackson on Sept. 24, at UFC 135 in Denver.

“That is the date he will headline, in Colorado,” White said. “Assuming [Jones] has healed. Doctor’s got to say his hand’s OK [first], and he’s got to get in the gym to prove it.”

The advantages are stacking up for Jones. He trains at Greg Jackson’s in Albuquerque at altitude, so his first title defense at 205 pounds occurring in the Mile High City will work in his favor. The date also occurs only six weeks after UFC 133 in Philadelphia, where No. 1 contender Rashad Evans is fighting Phil Davis, so if Jones is cleared to fight the timing could mesh for a late-2011 meeting between Evans and Jones. That is if everything lines up just right.

UFC 135 will also feature a welterweight tilt between Diego Sanchez and Matt Hughes, and will be the first event in Denver proper, since Zuffa bough the company in 2002."

White also said that, from this day forward, all non-title main events --regardless if they are major pay-per-views or free televised cards -- will be five rounds. The one exception is the Davis/Evans fight, because that contract was signed previously to the decision to lengthen main events in general.

When I asked him if there would be asterisks involved, such as a fighter jumping into the main event on short notice, or a co-main event being bumped up to become the main event as happened with Matt Hamill and Quinton Jackson at UFC 130, White said there were no exceptions -- all main events are five rounds.

“For Spike and everything else, all five rounds,” he said. “If you’re in the main event you have to fight five rounds. Even if it’s short notice.”

That’s fairly a significant detail for how gyms will need to alter training camps, as now the possibility of fighting five rounds rather than three will be in the back of a fighter’s mind.