I find it odd that some of my colleagues and fans are stating that Lyoto Machida doesn’t deserve to be the #1 contender for the UFC’s light heavyweight title. I’ve heard things like, “he lost back in December to Jones and now he beats Bader, how does that deserve a title shot?” Some of you have short memories; this isn’t the first time the UFC has anointed someone a title shot after just one victory.
I figure I would bring back #Just Saying with a vengeance. I’ve been accused of speaking my mind, and even debating others via social media with Olympic vigor. So…what the hell, why not bring back a channel where I can just say what I want and you can agree or disagree; just watch the shots to the junk please.
Although Shogun Rua and Brandon Vera put on a great fight as a Main Event on UFC on FOX 4; with Shogun digging deep to win in the fourth round via KO, that was not the most impressive performance of the night. It may have been the most entertaining; even though I thought Joe Lauzon and Jamie Varner was the best fight of the night and a great candidate for fight of the year. Nonetheless, Lyoto Machida making quick work of Ryan Bader with a devastating KO was the most impressive. It was vintage Dragon. I still don’t think fans appreciate what they are watching when Machida steps into the Octagon.
You can’t blame the UFC for wanting to anoint a number one contender on their prime time FOX event. It brings eyes to the card and makes the fights even more compelling. It worked like a charm in that it was the most entertaining live UFC event that the new FOX/UFC partnership has had to date.
As much as people want to shout to the heavens about Alexander Gustafsson or even Glover Teixeira, please inform me how either of those men deserve a title shot? It’s too early for either of them and they do not have enough hype or marketing behind them yet to sell pay-per-views. I think both men are maybe one or two wins away but are definite future candidates.
The FOX network is a great place to start marketing a number one contender and sell future pay-per-views. Whether it was Shogun or Machida, the UFC had a lot of options to work with in regards to potential match ups and hyping up a fight between the winner of Jones vs. Henderson. In my opinion, Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida 2 for the light heavyweight title would be intriguing.
“The Dragon” last fought Jones back in December at UFC 140 and won the opening round. It was the first time the amazing Jon Jones looked human. What many forget is that reports surfaced the night before that Machida was in no shape to fight for the title and was dealing with a harsh flu. Remember when you had the flu? Most of you don’t even go into work let alone fight for a title.
So if Machida vs. Jones 2 does go down, it makes for a far more interesting storyline than say Shogun Rua or anyone else in the light heavyweight division. If Dan Henderson pulls off the upset at UFC 151 on September 1, it’s still an intriguing match up. This is the problem when you have a dominant champion in Jones who has ran rupshaw through the division, and you have to find fights that will sell on PPV. Until Jones agrees to move to the Heavyweight division (which will happen eventually) or takes on a super fight with Anderson Silva, the UFC will have to find fights with a storyline and some entertainment value that they can promote. It’s a nice problem to have when you have one of the best fighters in the world.
Alexander Gustafsson is a talent and will probably emerge in 2013 as a real threat, but until then, we have Lyoto Machida as the number one contender. He is the former champ, possible future hall of famer, and makes the most sense at this time. Many of you forget how bad Shogun Rua looked against Jones and barely beating Brandon Vera doesn’t exactly raise the stock. Shogun didn’t seem too upset about the news and recently claimed he would like a shot at Anderson Silva. Machida was the right choice and the guy I think the UFC had in mind all along. However, we are talking about the UFC here, best laid plans for now, but things could change.
Now, who wants to debate this? Keyboard warriors unite. I have all day. Make your feelings known preferably in the comments below or if you must at @mmasucka or on our FB page. Whoever has the most impressive argument wins…a kick in the nuts.
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