Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White was serious when he promised that the most "impressive" winner tonight (Aug. 4, 2012) in the two Light Heavyweight bouts at UFC on Fox 4 would earn the next 205-pound title shot.
Congratulations, Lyoto Machida.
"The Dragon" pasted Ryan Bader in the co-featured fight of the night, turning out his lights with a short right hand as "Darth" attempted to charge in and secure a takedown. He collapsed to the canvas in a heap, while the Brazilian landed another few shots just for good measure.
It was certainly the most impressive finish of the night inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Far more authoritative than the technical knockout finish that Mauricio Rua registered over Brandon Vera in the fourth round of their main event clash.
White broke it all down with Joe Rogan at the conclusion of the show:
"I think Lyoto Machida looked the most impressive tonight. He seems right now to have this fire in him. He wants it, he wants that title back. He wants that shot at Jon Jones. Everything I see in this guy's performance, in the way he acts shows me that he wants this title shot. And Lyoto Machida, you're going to get it, buddy."
Machida -- himself a former division kingpin -- will now sit and wait as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones prepares to defend his belt against Dan Henderson at UFC 151 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sept. 1, 2012. Prior to his sensational win over Bader this evening, Machida was last seen sleeping on the mat thanks to a "Bones" standing guillotine choke at UFC 140.
Some might think it's a little too soon for a rematch, even if several fight fans had the Brazilian winning the first round of their first fight back in Dec. 2011. But, then again, a rematch might not even get off the ground if "Hendo" can land one of his hellish haymakers.
White reminds us of the possibilty:
"[Jones] still has to fight Dan Henderson. And Dan Henderson is nasty. He's a legend killer. He's got knockout power in both hands. Jones has to get through him first, then whoever wins that fight, will fight Lyoto Machida."
Now that would be something, wouldn't it?