At UFC 140, former light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida fell short of reclaiming the title, but he did earn more respect from hardcore MMA fans. Machida became the first man to make UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones look even remotely human, frustrating the champ with his evasive skills and counters.
Two of the three Octagon-side judges scored the first round for Jones, but I personally thought Machida looked better. If Jones hadn’t been able to take the fight to the ground, Machida would have probably walked away with the belt. Obviously upset with his poor second round performance, Machida expressed his disappointment in an interview with Tatame.com.
“Well, I guess it was a hard fight,” Machida said. “The preparation was tougher in all aspects. We went there and tried to do our job. We set a game plan that, from where I’m standing, until a certain moment was working, but he landed that elbow and I got dizzy, I couldn’t see things straight anymore and it disturbed me because I couldn’t see. And on that moment I thought: ‘I gotta do my best here and now’. And that’s what happened… I felt him a little loss on the first round, but I was focused on not making it a big deal, because each round was a different one and I had to will them all. I did my game and he was falling for it.”
With his loss to Jones, Machida will now have to work his way back towards another title shot. I’m sure many MMA fans wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch between the two, after Machida gets a couple of wins over top contenders.
The Machida that showed up at UFC 140 probably won’t have lost to Mauricio Rua (twice if you want to be technical) or Quinton Jackson. If Machida comes out as sharp in his next couple of fights, there’s no question he’ll be the number one contender in the light-heavyweight division sooner rather than later.