by Dann Stupp on Jul 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm ET
The winner of Saturday's UFC on FOX 4 headliner will get a title shot.
Despite both fighters having already suffered losses to reigning light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones – and despite the competitors owning a combined 3-5 record (with one no-contest) in their past nine fights – the winner of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (20-6 MMA, 4-4 UFC) vs. Brandon Vera (12-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC) will get a shot at the belt.
UFC president Dana White today confirmed the plans.
"Yes," White said flatly when asked about the title stakes.
UFC on FOX 4 takes place Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The main card, including the Vera vs. Shogun five-round headliner, airs on FOX following prelims on FUEL TV.
"'Shogun' Rua just came off a 'Fight of the Year' last year," said White, referring to Rua's close decision loss to Dan Henderson in November at UFC 139. "He's probably one of the best fighters of the last decade. Think about it. This guy knocked out 'Rampage' (Jackson), knocked out Chuck Liddell, knocked out Mark Coleman, knocked out Lyoto Machida, knocked out Forrest Griffin, knocked out Alistair Overeem twice, submitted Kevin Randleman. A win vs. [Vera] puts him right back in position, and then he's probably the No. 2 guy in the world."
As for Vera, who hasn't won back-to-back fights in three years, he understands it's icing on the cake. He was just happy to have a main-event fight on network television after UFC on FOX 4 lost an originally planned headliner of Hector Lombard vs. Brian Stann.
"Like I said before, this is already a blessing in disguise, and by Dana throwing [the title shot] out there, it's like winning the lottery twice," he said.
Despite some recent setbacks, Vera is coming off a decision victory over Eliot Marshall. Rua, meanwhile, fights for the first time since the loss to Henderson, who fights Jones in next month's UFC 151 headliner.
Rua, a former champ, lost his belt to Jones via TKO in early 2011. Vera also suffered a TKO loss to Jones, which came in 2010.
For more on UFC on FOX 4, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Brandon Vera)