Lyoto Machida Will Not Get an Automatic Shot at Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort UFC 152 Winner

September 4, 2012
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Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4When UFC 151 fell apart and company president Dana White made the announcement cancelling the event, the MMA world was aghast.

Dan Henderson’s knee injury knocked him out of the headlining bout with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and the UFC failed to keep a suitable headlining bout intact, so White moved on to ‘Plan B,’ moving Jones to the UFC 152 fight card on Sept. 22 in Toronto.

At the time of the UFC 151 cancellation announcement, he thought he was putting Jones in a rematch with former champion Lyoto Machida. But less than 24 hours later that changed as well.

“When I make a fight, I don’t say a word until both bout agreements are signed, the deal is done,” White recounted on Tuesday night’s edition of UFC Tonight. “Well, I did exactly what it is I never do because we’re in this position because that big media call was the next day and I wanted to have some answers.”

Machida was en route to Brazil at the time and couldn’t be reached. His manager, Ed Soares, according to White, said that he didn’t see why Machida wouldn’t take the fight with Jones at UFC 152.

“So I went with it and it didn’t work out,” White continued. “This is the guy that had been terrorizing me for a title shot, and then he said four weeks wasn’t enough.”

Shift to Vitor Belfort, aka ‘Plan C.’ Both Jones and Belfort agreed to the fight and are now the headlining about at UFC 152.

White didn’t take aim at Machida for turning down the fight – at least not in the way he went after Jones when the champ declined to fight Chael Sonnen at UFC 151 – but he didn’t exactly paint a rosy picture for Machida’s hopes of quickly regaining title contention.

“Lyoto has been crying for this title shot for a long time and you know how this stuff goes. When you turn down the opportunity to fight, things start going in another path,” he explained. “It happened to Rashad Evans. Rashad Evans was out of a fight for a year and a half.”

No matter what happens between Jones and Belfort, White declared that Machida would not automatically get a shot at the winner. He didn’t have an announcement for Machida’s next opponent, but did say, “Machida is not next in line. He’ll fight another fight.”

That seems to be fine by Machida, who believed that he just couldn’t be fully prepared for a shot at Jones with just a three-week camp for the fight. Having lost to Jones once before, at UFC 140 last year, Machida didn’t want to risk the huge career setback that losing twice to Jones would be.

“If he has to take another fight before the title fight, that’s okay, too,” Soares said recently on MMAWeekly Radio. “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.”

  • gnodeb

    I have no desire to watch short notice title fights. I want MMA to become real serious sport. Fighters train too hard to be treated like this…

    • MrAdidas

      Dude that’s aprt of the sport, if the fighters dont like it, do something else. 90% of the other fighters seem to be okay with this & most jump at a chance to fight for a title, ENTER Chael P. Sonnen. The guy agreed to fight one of the most dangerous fighters on the planet on 8 days, and he’s a MW, same goes for Weidman. Yet Lyoto wont take 3-4 weeks to train? If I’m not mistaken Lyoto had a full 8-10 weeks of training for Jones the last time they fought & he was choked out in the 2nd Round. It can’t get that much worst. Jones doesn’t finish many fights in the 1st round, he likes to feel things out in the 1st round & then start to attack/stalk his oponent. I hope Lyoto never gets to fight Jones again, it would look so good on him … that’s what you get for turning down a guaranteed title fight, it’s not like their a dime a dozen. It’s like some of these guys think, “we’ll I’ll wait for my next title offer, so I can get a full training camp.” Most fighters don’t even get a snif of being in a #1 contender fight, let alone a title fight.

      Best example is Jon Fitch, sure heès boring and what not, but the guy had only one loss in 6+ yrs, before he got KTFO by Hendricks, and that 1 loss was to GSP. Yet he still didn’t get another title fight, going undefeated for as long as he did after losing to GSP the 1st time. Fitch even won the #1 contender fight between him & Alves and the UFC still never gave him the title fight. Title fights only happen 2, 3 if you’re very lucky 4 times a year & thats it. Though I think Jones has been the only Champ to do 4 title defences in 12 months.

      • MrAdidas

        Actually that’s a “lie,” Jones fought 5 times in 14 months & 4 of them fights were title fights, 3 were title defences. He fought Bader in Feb 2011, Rua in March 2011, Rampage in Sept 2011, Lyoto in Dec 2011 & Evans in April 2012.

        My bad!

  • You can’t blame Machida. He just recently fought Bader. Jones had a training camp and he didn’t want to risk losing again to him on last minute notice. 1 more fight before a title shot is okay, he’ll be prepared. But if he lost to Jones taking this fight last minute who knows when he would get another shot. Years it could take him.

    • MrAdidas

      I think you guys are missing the point here, when a fighter steps up & takes a (title) fight on short notice, the UFC realises this & they would not penalize the fighter for losing to the Champ a 2nd straight time. It would be completely different if they had a full training camp & lost his 2nd fight to the Champ. I believe the UFC would give the fighter 2 or 3 more fights & if he happens to win all of them in an entertaining way (doen’t have to win all of them by TKO\KO or submission, as long as they’re impressive) then I could see them giving him another shot or at least another #1 contender fight. They definitely wouldn’t have to start from scratch all over again, which means 4-6 fights minimum. IMO