UFC on FOX 4: Naming a #1 Contender to Face Jon Jones
There was controversy surrounding UFC on FOX 4 well before the event took place on August 5th. In fact, there was probably more controversy in the build-up to the fight then there was from the event itself. The key issue that was causing such heated debate leading up to Saturday was regarding comments made by Dana White about how the results would lead to a light heavyweight tilt against reigning champion, Jon Jones.
Shogun, Brandon Vera, Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader were coming into the event on Saturday with the expectation that one of them would be facing Jon Jones in the next few months (assuming Jones beats Dan Henderson). The key issue lies in the fact that all of these fighters have been defeated by Jones in the past. As I mentioned in a previous article, Jon Jones has built up a dominance in the light heavyweight division that is starting to show shades of Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre, and it can be hard watching re-matches, considering the previous losses were so lop-sided.
As expected, Shogun and Machida came out victorious in their respective matches, so both naturally felt worthy of a shot at the title. Dana White all but confirmed in the post-fight press conference that Lyoto Machida would likely be the one awarded another bout against Jones. Why? Apparently the decision was mainly due to the fact Machida’s victory was more impressive – and because Machida looked “hungrier” during the fight (and outside of the ring).
While many people may not be excited by the prospect of a re-match between Jones and Machida, out of all four of the aforementioned fighters Machida probably presents the most interesting challenge. To anyone who watched the first match-up between Jones and Machida at UFC 140, we watched Jon Jones, who has seemed invincible, feel some heat. Despite what anyone says, Machida dominated Jones in the first round of their match by staying with his patented karate stick-and-move fighting tactics. It wasn’t until Jones got wise and started to work a clinch-and-grapple game that he rebounded in that fight. With this all being said, Machida has proven that he can scathe the champ, and if he can learn from his previous mistakes then he does have a chance of wearing the belt again.
To people who think Jones should face someone else, I don’t really know what you want? Jones has dispatched every top-level fighter in the light heavyweight division. Assuming he beats Henderson, there are few alternatives in the division. Hopefully there will be some emergent challengers moving through the ranks, but until then we fans we need to resign ourselves to the fact that we’re going to have to watch re-matches for the title in the light heavyweight division.
On a side note, I want to give a shout out to Brandon Vera. After years of wondering where his dynamism had gone, I think we finally saw it re-emerge last night. Despite the loss, Vera looked fantastic. He had Shogun on the ropes a number of times. I am looking forward to seeing him fight again soon in the UFC!
… and that is the last word.