During the UFC 157 pre-fight press conference on Thursday, UFC president Dana White made the announcement.
“I love this fight. Stylistically I think it’s a great fight. Machida has his style where he lays back and counter-punches and Henderson is move forward. He’s aggressive and in your face the entire time. I think the fight is going to be a great fight, and this fight is all about the winner,” said White. “The winner gets a shot at Jon Jones.”
Machida, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, has said leading up to the fight with Henderson that he felt the winner deserves a title shot. The two are ranked as the top two contenders in the division by the official UFC Rankings.
“I believe, out of this fight, whoever wins should definitely be the contender for the title. If we’re number one and number two then the title shot should definitely be on the line in this fight,” Machida said on a UFC 157 conference call last week.
Machida (18-3) lost to current champion Jon Jones at UFC 140, but he’s coming off of a knockout win over Ryan Bader. He was offered a chance to rematch Jones on short notice, headlining UFC 152, but turned the fight down citing not having enough time to prepare. Machida is now just one win away from getting another shot at the light heavyweight title.
Henderson (29-8) is riding a four-fight win streak. The former Pride and Strikeforce champion was scheduled to face champion Jon Jones at UFC 151, but was forced out of the bout due to a knee injury. He has to get past Machida to get back to a championship bout.