First of all, it made for perfect timing for "The Natural" to finally hang up the gloves. On such a grand stage, at such an action packed event, with such a devastating -- and memorable -- finish, it was the right decision to retire. It is never easy to see an amazing athlete leave the game but this was undoubtedly the time to do it..
Secondly, this fight showed "The Dragon" has that fire back in his breath and is ready for another push to the top of the division.
He took the time to find his comfort zone throughout the first round. This zone exists within his rhythm of jumping in and out of an opponents wheelhouse to jab and kick. He's like a rabbit with his otherworldly agility and it proved to be too much for the even-keeled Couture.
When Machida is on, he becomes a different fighter. One even the greatest mixed martial artists in the history of the sport will have trouble dealing with.
If there was ever a time to show that very fact, it's now, and if there was ever an opponent to prove it to, it's current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones.Machida is reminiscent of Anderson Silva. With his hand movement and quick side to side strafing, he's nearly untouchable when he wants to be.
The Brazilian has the technicality to hurt someone that has overpowered all previous opponents. Who better than Jones?
This fight is very similar to if Silva were to go up to 205-pounds again to face "Bones." That's a dream match-up that no one will blame you for desperately asking for. However, an alternative is staring us straight in the face in the form of Machida, who already makes his home in the light heavyweight division.
With his rabbit's agility and ability to stay out of his opponents range, not to mention his penchant for frustrating his foes, he could very well have the exact style needed to defeat the dominant champion. He may actually be elusive enough to avoid both the lethal reach of Jones and his stunning and powerful clinch game.
His Karate kicks are just a bonus in this match-up. He doesn't need to be flashy or show off any new wrinkle Steven Seagal may be pushing on him at that particular moment. A proper game plan, with his skills and ability to implement it, will suffice.
Would Machida walk in and run straight through Jones to win back the title? Not at all. But that's precisely what makes the match-up so intriguing. Both men present interesting challenges to the other and there is a clear path to victory on both sides.
The same cannot be said for many of the other current contenders at 205-pounds.
You see Forrest Griffin crack jokes about not wanting to fight Jones because he's such a beast but his smile betrays his true feelings on the matter; he really doesn't want that fight. Couture turned down a bout against the young phenom. Before their recent sandbox spat, Rashad Evans wanted none of him either, albeit for differing reasons.
The point remains, there are few fighters in the world at this moment that are viewed as viable opponents for the freakishly athletic light heavyweight king.
However, there is one that is not just a credible challenger but poses a very real threat to unseat him from his throne: Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida.
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Is Lyoto Machida the best possible match-up for Jon Jones at light heavyweight right now?
Yes. (2652 votes)
No. (979 votes)
3631 total votes