After beginning his mixed martial arts (MMA) career with 16 straight wins and earning a reputation as "untouchable" due to his elusiveness and unorthodox style of fighting with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Lyoto Machida has now dropped three of his last four fights within the promotion.
Dropping consecutive fights to Mauricio Rua and Quinton Jackson, the former UFC light heavyweight champion was able to get back to his winning ways by sending Randy Couture into retirement with a "Karate Kid" inspired front kick at UFC 129 this past April.
His momentum quickly came to a halt, as he suffered a second round submission loss, which put him to sleep after refusing to tap, to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 140 this past weekend (Dec. 10, 2011) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Soon after giving "Bones" what many would call his toughest five minutes of competition during his tenure with the UFC in the first round, Jones was able to catch "The Dragon" in a standing guillotine, forcing referee Big John McCarthy to step in and stop the fight only after Machida was out cold.
After taking some time to reflect on his loss, Machida tells Fighters Only that even though he lost to Jones at UFC 140, he feels he may have found a path to get to the young champion and also mentions a possible shift in weight classes.
"Of course any loss is painful for a fighter. I lost but I still have three more fights at UFC and now my main goal is to be the champion of the weight class and bring the belt back to Para. Now it is a challenge to beat Jones and bounce back. We already know the path to get to him and in the next fight the things should happen with more ease. I wanted to thank the fans for the support. I know we gave our best and I know we did our best. We hired everybody we could but the result is not always the way we want. I think we always have to be learning something out of this and it is through the loss that we learn more than with the victory. I have been reading some messages on Twitter, on the Internet, and I only got to say thanks and say everything is okay with me, it's alright, let's go to the next one. I am a professional and it is part of my career: to win or to lose. I hope the next time we can celebrate together!"
After seeing better days early in his UFC career, the Shotokan Karate specialist seems to have come to a crossroads. With plenty of contenders lining up to be the first to dethrone the 205-pound division kingpin Jon Jones, it could be a while before Machida earns another title shot. Perhaps a change in weight class could rejuvenate the former champion:
"Now, I don't want to change - but if I am not the light heavyweight champion it really could happen."
A drop down to the 185-pound division could be an option, but his hopes to capture another UFC world title could prove rather testy, as everything begins and ends with current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who also happens to be one of Machida's training partners over at Team Black House.
Though "The Dragon" has competed as an undersized heavyweight at 225 pounds against B.J. Penn at a K-1 Heroes event in 2004; the heavyweights in the UFC are a whole different animal, tipping the scales of over 250-pounds and higher.
What do you say Maniacs, should "The Dragon" work his way back up the ladder of the 205-pound division and hope to earn a rematch against Jones, or whoever the champion may be at the time?
Or should the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt look for greener pastures in another division?
If so, where?