Jon Jones cemented his status as UFC light heavyweight champion by defending the belt against former champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson last month at UFC 135. In just a few months, the 24-year-old will make his second title defense against another former champion in Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida.
A karate expert with a puzzlingly elusive style, solid defensive wrestling and potent skills on the mat, Machida presents a specific conundrum to Jones the likes of which he’s not yet encountered. Though preparation is just beginning for their December meeting, Jones already has a rough idea of how he plans to ready himself.
“The way I plan on dealing with Lyoto’s style is to just really be myself,” the champ said today. “I’m very aware of the fact that he’s never competed against anyone like me and I’ve never competed against anyone like him. The name of the game really is just to study, figure out tendencies and take it from there.”
For his part, Machida must prepare to deal with a freakishly athletic fighter with incredible reach and the ability to use it well with a technical mix of both striking and grappling. As always, Machida believes that his incredible discipline and long-trained technique will be able to overcome Jones’ youth and inventiveness.
“I guarantee that on December 10 I’ll be very well prepared and I can overcome his athleticism with my technique,” said The Dragon.
Jones and Machida will meet in the main event of UFC 140, which is to take place at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.