UFC 140: Did Lyoto Machida deserve the next light heavyweight title shot?

Photo via UFC.com

Lyoto Machida will challenge Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title at UFC 140 on Dec. 10, 2011, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

How did "The Dragon" go from 1-2 since 2009 to division number one contender? Well, I'll let UFC President Dana White explain it the way only he can (via Twitter):

rashad hurt dickhead. Evans is Hurt, Hendo is fighting shogun and Davis is hurt. U have to be a fuckin moron not to love machida vs jones.

Considering the back-story, build-up and anticipation of "Jones vs. Evans," the question has to be asked why "Bones" was unable to wait another three weeks after Evans’ manager, Glenn Robinson, told Heavy MMA that's all it would take to get his injured fighter back into training camp following surgery to remove pins from his hand.

It certainly does nothing to dispel the accusations that Jones is avoiding a "Suga" showdown.

But putting that aside, assuming this was all the promotion's doing and that Jones fights "whoever they put in front of him," the question still arises: Did Lyoto Machida deserve the next title shot?

MMA Nation explains why he's not a "credible opponent:"

Prior to dispatching old man Randy Couture, a UFC legend who happened to be 48 years old when Machida kicked his face off in April, Machida had lost consecutive fights. He was outboxed by Rampage Jackson and outhustled by Mauricio Rua. Simply put, Machida hasn't earned a title shot.

If Rashad will really be out for an extended period, I understand Jones can't wait forever. But Machida is not the answer. As the UFC becomes more sport and less spectacle, it's more important than ever that there be method to White's madness. A fighter who has lost his last two competitive fights doesn't belong in a title bout. Credibility is key - and right now Machida is not a credible title challenger.

An argument can be made for Mauricio Rua, who rebounded from losing his UFC 128 title fight by pounding out Forrest Griffin at UFC 134, but "Shogun" was thrashed so mightily by the young phenom, it may be difficult to sell a rematch so close to their initial encounter.

So where does that leave us?

That's up to you, fellow fight fans. Was the few extra weeks Evans needed to recuperate a deal breaker? And if so, how do you feel about "Jones vs. Machida?" The only sellable fight outside of Rashad?

Opinions, please.

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