Even though UFC light heavyweight Lyoto Machida hasn’t gone on record with a pick in the upcoming bout between divisional champion Jon Jones and challenger Dan Henderson, the 205-pound top contender seems to be leaning in one direction based on some recent comments pointing to a possible meeting with the man currently wearing the belt.
Machida and Jones faced off this past December with Jones retaining his belt after an evenly-matched first round was followed up by a submission finish in the second. Now it seems Machida may want some revenge.
According to Machida, while he has the upmost respect for Jones, he already has a few areas in mind to work on when it comes to being the first man to legitimately beat “Bones” en route to reclaiming the championship he once wore himself.
“I beat him in the first round, but Jones is a great athlete and fighter. He changes his style all the time. He has a good coach and good strategy, but I think I have a chance to beat him,” explained Machida in an interview with MMAJunkie Radio. “He has good wrestling, and his reach is very long. I have to train a lot on how to get inside, and how I can beat him. He's very tough. He can control the fight when he uses his wrestling. That's why I have to train more wrestling, and more defense.”
However, if Jones comes up short against Henderson it appears Machida is equally open to mixing it up with the first-ballot Hall of Fame fighter, saying simply, “I just want to be a champion again. It doesn't matter who my opponent is.”
Jones-Henderson are scheduled to serve as the main event at UFC 151 on September 1. Based on the date it seems likely the winner will face Machida before the end of the year, health-permitting.
PHOTO CREDIT - UFC