Lyoto Machida, one of the top Light Heavyweight Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) talents, was recently on the cusp of receiving a much desired rematch with current champion, Jon Jones. After his impressive knockout of Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4, he was promised a title shot against the winner of the Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson fight that was scheduled for UFC 151.
After Henderson was forced to pull out of his fight with Jones at 151, and Jones turned down Chael Sonnen, Machida was given the title rematch with Jones, set for UFC 152. To many fans' dismay, "The Dragon" turned down the offer, understandably wanted more time to prepare for Jones.
"I wouldn't let his arm go at all. I would have brought it back to Brazil. But I think Vitor didn't relax his hold, I think Jon Jones had the merit to get away from that position. That was almost set, maybe 90 percent, but then the champion's spirit spoke more strongly. Jon will now go and prepare more on this part of his game, for sure. Vitor was prepared for that position, it came in very fast. I always see holes in Jones' game but you have to be very well prepared to explore them."
In the same interview, Machida said that he'd be back in training within the next 10 days after suffering a minor knee injury. It is entirely possible that this knee injury was a big factor in his turning down a rematch with Jon Jones at UFC 152. He also mentioned being able to fight around the time a bout with Dan Henderson was rumored, but he claims he doesn't know who or when he'll be fighting:
"I will be ready to re-start in 10 days to fight in December, who knows?"
In his most noteworthy quote from the interview, Machida acknowledges an interest in fighting long-time UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre:
"It would be an interesting karate duel but I don't know at what weight we would do it. If it is at 185lbs, I will go for it."
He is right, it would be an interesting competition between two top martial artists. While "GSP" has expressed concerns about fighting at 185, this possibility -- like the potential "super" fight with Anderson Silva -- may eventually be too lustrous to pass up.
Machida's quote on the matter also confirms that he would be willing to compete at middleweight, something many fans have wondered about the rather small light heavyweight.