August 4, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lyoto Machida fights Ryan Bader during the light heavyweight match at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White has never been one to back down from a challenge. Particularly, when that challenge is to hype a fight card that hasn't been receiving much attention in the mixed martial arts (MMA) community.
Thus was the case with UFC on Fox 4: "Shogun vs. Vera," which was an event that lacked the ability to turn many heads in the weeks leading up the free show on FOX.
So, how do you grab everyone's attention and place it back on your upcoming card? Apparently, you tell the world that the main event winner will get the next crack at the UFC Light Heavyweight title, in an attempt to make that main event seem more interesting than it may actually be.
However, after a large backlash on Twitter and other social media sites, White decided to widen the list of contestants to the title shot sweepstakes, declaring that the winner of Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader would also be in the running.
In the end, it was "The Dragon" who secured the winning ticket, when he decided he'd done enough dancing and toying with Bader and knocked him out early in the second round.
Afterward, White swiftly removed all doubt by declaring that it would indeed be Machida who would get the next crack at the belt.
Machida was demolished by Jon Jones at UFC 140 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Dec. 10, 2011, but the fight did not come without moral victory.Many would argue that Machida was the first man to ever win a round against "Bones." There were even moments, albeit, sparse ones, where Machida looked to possibly have the champion in trouble.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that Jones quickly solved the puzzle, walked through one of Machida's trademark karate blitzes and then finished him with one of the most violent chokes we've ever seen.
The argument could be made that it was a "learning curve" fight for Machida, and that he's grown from the loss and continues to get better. The problem with that ideology is that it's not like Jones has been sitting on the couch eating cheetos since December. He's gotten better, too.
Jones is in his prime and continues to only grow more dangerous. If he is able to dismantle number one contender Dan Henderson at UFC 151 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sept. 1, 2012, he will have accomplished a major feat by dispatching of a long list of MMA legends.
Should "Hendo" be able to score the upset at UFC 151, Machida will be matched up with another dangerous fighter, but one from a very different ilk.
Henderson is a brawler, historically, and his style may play perfectly to Machida's strengths. In other words, if Machida is looking for the easier road to the belt, he should be cheering for "Dangerous Dan" on Labor Day weekend.