Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida was a bit surprised when he got the call to headline UFC 140 in a title bout against Jon Jones, but feels his technique can overcome the champion’s athleticism.
“It really caught me by surprise, but I’m a guy that believes that everything happens for a reason,” Machida said about getting the title shot at a press conference promoting the UFC 140 event in Toronto on Wednesday.
Machida was offered to step in on short notice for the injured Phil Davis at UFC 133 on Aug. 6 in a rematch with Rashad Evans. He didn’t accepting the match and UFC president Dana White said it was because Machida “wanted Anderson Silva money” to take the bout.
Some felt Machida’s negotiating may have left him on the outs with the UFC brass, but getting offered to fight for the title at UFC 140 put that speculation to rest.
“This is a business,” said the former light heavyweight titleholder. “I don’t feel at all that the UFC had anything against me about anything that happened and I knew my time would come.”
Jones has skyrocketed through the 205-pound division, leaving bloodied bodies in his wake to the title. Some of the names on his hit list include: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Ryan Bader, Brandon Vera, and Vladimir Matyushenko, just to name a few.
Machida was asked what advantages he might have against Jones.
“It’s hard to say,” said Machida. “Maybe my experience will speak louder in this fight, but I’m not sure.”
Stylistically the match up is intriguing. Jones has youth, athleticism, takedowns, and a big reach advantage, but Machida is difficult to take down, difficult to hit, and is a precision striker with an incredible ratio of strikes landed versus strikes thrown inside the Octagon.
“I guarantee that on Dec. 10 I’ll be very well prepared, and I can overcome his athleticism with my technique,” stated Machida.
He will be the third former champion Jones will face in a row, and the fight with be the fourth time he’s competed in 2011.