COMMENTARY | Lyoto Machida's refusal to fight Jon Jones on short notice following the cancellation of the UFC 151 fight card put him on the promotion's brass' bad side -- asking for "Anderson Silva money" a year prior to that didn't help, but that doesn't mean he won't get a title shot if he continues racking up wins inside the Octagon.
Machida (19-3-0, 7 KOs) is on a two-fight win streak, and he's currently ranked first on the Ultimate Fighting Championship's official light-heavyweight rankings. "The Dragon" is currently set to face Phil Davis on at UFC 163 scheduled for Aug. 3, at the HSBC Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, while Alexander Gustafsson, who is ranked second on the UFC's official rankings, is set to challenge the 205-pound division's current champ, Jon "Bones" Jones, in September at UFC 165.
A win against "Mr. Wonderful" might be enough to get Machida the winner of that encounter.
The Brazilian certainly thinks so.
"Maybe, anything can happen in the UFC," Lyoto responded during an interview with Marcelo Alonso when asked if a win against Davis would be enough to earn him a title shot. "I think with this next victory [against Davis] that I'll have, I will be the next [number one] contender for sure."
When Machida and Jones first met inside the Octagon at UFC 140, the Brazilian gave Bones his toughest test till date inside the Octagon, arguably winning the first round of their 2011 encounter. It was the first time the man many believe is the future of mixed martial arts looked remotely human inside the Octagon, struggling to find his range while eating some big shots -- blows that were more than enough to put a man to sleep.
Even when Jones closed in on what ended up being the fight ending choke during the second round, Machida landed a vicious right cross that would have dropped many light-heavyweights. Fortunately for Jones, his chin held up, and he walked right through the punch, putting Machida to sleep with a guillotine choke shortly after.
Obviously, a lot of time has passed since then, and Lyoto feels his skills have evolved enough to defeat Jones if he gets a rematch.
"I have some keys on how to win Jon Jones," Machida added. "I was very close [to] the victory against Jones. Maybe if somebody gives me a rematch, I can get that."
As entertaining as Machida vs. Jones was, at least to hardcore MMA fans, UFC 140 didn't pull in impressive numbers, with only about 480,000 pay-per-view buys.
Naturally, that will make the UFC's matchmakers a bit reluctant to set up Jones vs. Machida 2.
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