After being named the No. 1 contender to the light heavyweight championship, following his performance at UFC on FOX 4, Lyoto Machida (18-3) understands that his next fight may not be for the title.
“If he has to take another fight before the title fight, that’s okay,” said Machida’s manager Ed Soares on MMA Weekly Radio. “But one thing that we want to know is we want to make sure that he’s 100 percent prepared for this next title shot.”
After Dan Henderson (29-8) had to pull out of his UFC 151 title shot against Jon Jones (16-1), Machida was named to fight for the championship at UFC 152. Machida declined the offer citing more time to prepare for the fight and realizing that losing to Jones again would dampen his chances for another championship fight. In 2011, Machida lost to Jones at UFC 140.
“Every guy who has lost to a champion twice in that weight division basically has to reinvent themselves and most likely change weight divisions,” said Soares. “For us, the way I look at it, that’s a big step. For the UFC potentially, it’s just another event. It’s just UFC 151 or 152 or whatever it is, but for Lyoto it’s a much bigger decision in his life.”
Jones now fights Vitor Belfort (21-9) at UFC 152. Machida remains the No. 1 contender, but it is not known when he will get his championship shot.
“I know that in Lyoto’s heart and in his mind, he believes he can still be the light heavyweight champion of the world,” said Soares. “So if he’s going to take this chance, and he’s going to take this opportunity to fight against Jon Jones, he wants to make sure he puts his best foot forward and be 100 percent. Because if he loses, it’s not just like he’s losing another fight. He really has to sit back and reinvent himself and figure out what am I going to do.”