Anderson Silva isn't willing to fight Ultimate Fighting Championship light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, but the 35-year-old veteran Stephan Bonnar is suitable.
So on Saturday, Silva and Bonnar will face off in a non-title bout on the pay-per-view UFC 153 card in Rio de Janeiro.
It has been a difficult year for the UFC, with superstar welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre sidelined by a knee injury and Jones canceling a fight card by declining a title defense rematch against Chael Sonnen. And now Silva's selection of Bonnar is another compromise.
The Brazilian Silva (30-4) has reigned as middleweight champion since 2006. He returns to the octagon sooner than expected after convincingly dismissing Sonnen by second-round knockout in July following the challenger's near upset of Silva in 2010.