Lyoto Machida May Have to Fight Again Before Title Shot, but Knows He Made Right Decision

September 5, 2012
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Lyoto Machida at UFC 129Lyoto Machida wants nothing more than to get a second chance to face Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title, but he also wants to be fully prepared.

Following Dan Henderson’s injury that forced him out of UFC 151, Jon Jones was left in the midst of a shuffle of opponents, eventually shifting to UFC 152 on Sept. 22. It was Machida that got the first call to step in and face him in Toronto.

Machida was afforded the rematch with Jones after knocking out Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4 in early August, but never imagined the fight would come together so quickly.

Ultimately, Machida opted to pass on the title shot on short notice because he knows that a second loss to Jones would essentially mean never getting another crack at the belt so long as he holds it.

“Every guy who has lost to a champion twice in that weight division basically has to reinvent themselves and most likely change weight divisions. For us, the way I look at it, that’s a big step. For the UFC potentially, it’s just another event. It’s just UFC 151 or 152 or whatever it is, but for Lyoto it’s a much bigger decision in his life,” Machida’s manager Ed Soares explained when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.

“I know that in Lyoto’s heart and in his mind, he believes he can still be the light heavyweight champion of the world. So if he’s going to take this chance, and he’s going to take this opportunity to fight against Jon Jones, he wants to make sure he puts his best foot forward and be 100-percent. Because if he loses, it’s not just like he’s losing another fight. He really has to sit back and reinvent himself and figure out what am I going to do.”

Timing was ultimately the deciding factor for Machida to turn the fight down because even though he desperately wants to wrap that UFC title back around his waist and avenge the loss to Jon Jones, he just needed more time to prepare.

“We even told Dana, we said, ‘Listen Dana, three weeks to train for a fight…’ It was four weeks, but everyone knows the last week before the fight you don’t train, so it was three weeks preparing himself. We said, ‘Dana, we need four weeks of preparation to prepare for Jon Jones.’ So I said, ‘We’d be willing to take the fight in October in Brazil because that would technically be five weeks of preparation, so that would be two or three weeks after with five weeks of preparation leading into the fight,” Soares revealed.

“So we were willing to do that, but unfortunately that didn’t work for them.”

The downside of turning the fight down for Sept. 22 means that Machida now has to watch Vitor Belfort get a title shot against Jon Jones, and it also means he might have to get back in the cage to compete again before fighting for the belt.

Machida can live with the decision because he knew in his heart that if he fought Jones at UFC 152, he just would not have been ready.

“If he has to take another fight before the title fight, that’s okay too,” Soares said. “But one thing that we want to know is we want to make sure that he’s 100-percent prepared for this next title shot.”

To hear Ed Soares’ entire interview, including updates on Anderson Silva and the Nogueira brothers, listen to Wednesday’s edition of MMAWeekly Radio.

  • therealmo

    yep, if anyone is beating jon jones its machida with his striking and if he avoids the clinch game of jones

  • MaritalArtist

    Machida knows he can beat jones. That’s why he’s taking his time. He also knows he can beat any other LHW out there (well, Sonnen could pose problems for anyone), so he’s my worried about my getting another crack. Maybe Machida vs Evans rematch. What other LHW is available this fall?

  • dgs

    I absolutely agree with Machida’s decision. His manager makes an excellent point about the fight being just another fight for the UFC, but a super critical fight for Machida. Every challenger who has lost twice to the champion is pretty much always going to be a gate keeper in that weight class, or is forced to move up/down a weight class. Machida is too small for heavyweight, and too big for middleweight (plus he has stated he would never fight Silva).

    I do think with a proper training camp Machida has the best chance of beating Jones of anyone in the light heavyweight division.

  • lowlb

    Machida was the coolest champ. The way he came up through the ranks and beat everyone with his wacky style. He finishes fights. He was/is always a respectful fighter. He made the attempt to speak english (not that I really give a shit). I would love to see Machida beat Jones and Rua. Those fights are coming and they are going to be bad ass! I also want to see Nick Diaz beat Conduit but you never know with Nick…

  • adam1848

    I agree with the above comments, except about Lyoto being too big for 185. I think he is a natural middle weight and just waiting for Anderson to retire so he can take over that division. Don’t see anyone at 185 that I believe could beat him, except Spider, and that will never happen. But first I’d like to see him rematch Rashad. Maybe fight Chael. Or redeem the loss to Rua. Still a few good fights for him at 205 if he has to wait for Jones. Wish he had taken the fight on 9/22 but I trust his judgment.

    • laleggenda27

      Agreed. Machida wouldn’t even be one of the biggest middleweights on the roster. Okami and Sonnen are significantly larger than Machida, and I would venture a guess that guys like Boetsch and Munoz weigh more on fight night as middleweights than Machida weighs at light heavyweight.

  • machida made the right call on this one:) if he loose then its over at 205 as long jones is champion;) if he has to fight some one else to get the fight with jones why not make it machida vs rashard:) just know he has to fight before december becurse Rua fights Gustafsson december 8 and i think that could be a contender fight for both of them.

  • Lyoto did what was right for him considering he just finished a fight camp and defeated Bader. Jones just had a full fight camp. They should give him Rashad for next in line. Rashad is still an incredible fighter.

    • Good call…and the looser drops to 185!!

      • MaritalArtist

        Its gotta be machida vs Evans. There’s no other top 7 LHW available. I’m sure it will happen this year.

  • soboc1

    I’m sure Machida is reading this and figuring it out as we speak!

  • Jesusjones

    Machida ******* sucks he is the most boring martial artist I know…. Noticed how I said martial astist he is no fighter shogun would eat him alive for the third time and I’m pretty if he fights rashad again it would not have the same results

    • that last fight with jones was definitely not “boring”

    • Your certainly not a real mma fan if you say Machida sucks. I don’t care that everyone has their own opinion. The guy is a world class fighter and martial artist. To say he sucks is so disrespectful to him and to everyone he has fought.

    • Machida is boring and fukn sux . Boy. Wat r u watchn ? U sure u r watchn machida ? U needa wake up , hes 1 of the best to watch, myfav fighter by far ..c how ur the only 1 outa all these comments sayn that ur like maby 1 ina thousand so ur comment dnt mean shit!! Lyoto will b back for the belt count on it u haterz! Hes the only 1 so far to evn win a round against jj , and the only 1 to even hit hit !!

      • Lesnardo

        He is watching Machida from five year ago.

        Machida, as of late, is a killer. The dude runs around and then (when he finds the spot) just unleashes the dragon.

        Thiago Silva – Pretty much wooped him.
        Rashad Evans – Unleashed the dragon in the second round
        Rampage Jackson – unleashed the dragon in the third round. I still think Machida won the fight.
        Randy Couture – unleashed the crane
        Ryan Bader – unleashed the dragon in second round

        Machida is NOT GSP, a fighter who grinds out decisions. Machida goes for the kill. And you have to stand still to wait until he unleashes his fury of punches.

  • Jesusjones

    Ofcourse the fight with jones wasn’t boring he got choked which was awesome by the way. Sorry I just don’t see whatever it is you guys see in this so call dragon. He went undefeated for a while because no one knew his style but I believe shogun really laid down the blueprint on how to beat him the machida puzzle is solved and I’m sure he won’t be champion again unless silva retires and he moves down in weight class and that’s a big maybe

  • markrenton

    Machida looked flawless against Rashad Evans and made Bader look just silly. This guy is without a doubt one of the best LHW fighters in the world, but I do not see him ever beating Jon Jones. Machida’s style and elusiveness are what has made him so hard to figure out. It took Jones about 8 minutes to figure him out and when he did, he picked him apart and then literally choked him unconscious. I want to see Machida beat Jones as much as the next guy, I just honestly do not think he can…regardless of how much time he has to train.

    I like Machida, but I think he needs Silva to retire or Jones to move to HW to win a belt again. He is not a big LHW so making MW is definitely possible, unfortunately its been made clear that there will never be a Silva v Machida fight.

  • lycan

    Machida is the champ everyone wants and deserves , he’s the white knight of mma

  • mike

    What a chicken…Machida know that JOn bone Will destroy him again ..JON BONE JONE IS TO FUCing good..Too bad Machida have to fight with the little boys

  • mike

    Who ever think Machida can beat JON BONE JONES is just to stupid ..They need to rent some Kung fu movie instead