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Lyoto Machida not interested in action against Alexander Gustafsson

Alexander Gustafsson - MMAWEEKLYWhen UFC light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson was forced out of a fight with Gegard Mousasi due to a cut late in the training process it seemed to clear the path to a pairing between the Swedish star and fellow top contender Lyoto Machida. Both men are in line for a title-shot but have been forced to fill time while waiting for champion Jon Jones to settle his score with Chael Sonnen.

Based on availability and the match-up making sense from a rankings perspective, Gustafsson expressed interest in meeting Machida to determine who the most deserving challenger was. Unfortunately, it looks like Machida doesn’t feel the same way.

“Lyoto is on stand-by list waiting for the winner of Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen. I think it is almost impossible for Chael to win this bout but anything may happen,” said Machida’s manager Jorge Guimaraes to Fighters Only Magazine, alluding to the possibility of Jones getting an immediate rematch if he falls at UFC 159 despite being a significant favorite.

“Lyoto is the number one contender and he is only waiting to see who is going to be the winner of this fight,” continued Guimaraes on his client’s plan. “(Since) the fight between Jones and Sonnen is going to happen now, it doesn’t make sense to fight Alexander. We’re almost there. If it were a little before, this fight could have already happened, but he just fought… and Dana White has made it clear that Lyoto is the number one. We’ll be waiting.”

Machida’s decision may not sit well with UFC brass having questioned his willingness to step up in the past when conditions weren’t ideal. “The Dragon” is 19-3, beating Ryan Bader and Dan Henderson in two tilts since being choked out cold by Jones in December 2011. Meanwhile, Gustafsson holds a career mark of 15-1 and has won six straight since his lone stumble including success against Matt Hamill, James Te Huna, Thiago Silva, and most recently Mauricio Rua.


  • Richard Stabone says:

    Oh c’mon, everyone knows by now the “#1 contender” talk from Dana White is always subject to change and is often used more as a way to hype a fight/event than it is actually guaranteeing a guy a title shot. In this particular case, DW wanted to hype the UFC of FOX 4 event (Machida-Bader; Shogun-Vera) so he declared the #1 contender spot was up for grabs that night. But that was Lyoto’s first time back in the cage after being choked unconscious by JBJ, so pretending that beating Bader made him the #1 guy again was always a sham.

    Jones should have fought Dan Henderson earlier this year, and along with that Lyoto could have fought Gustafsson for a more legitimate claim to the #1 contender spot (and perhaps the fluke cut to Alex’s eye doesn’t happen in that scenario). But instead the UFC came up with the plan to try to save sagging TUF ratings, part of which included Chael coming out of nowhere to get an undeserved title shot.

    So to fill time they had Hendo fight Lyoto, which turned out to be 3 rounds of mostly uninspiring action as Lyoto came away with a split-decision victory. So that killed the Jones vs. Hendo matchup that we (or at least I) wanted to see happen.

    I’d rather see JBJ face a new challenger in Gustafsson than fight Machida again, but neither option is all that intriguing to me. Jones vs. Silva is what Dana should have been pushing for all along, or I could have settled for Jones vs. Hendo as a cool matchup. Instead we get Chael in the mix and then a murky picture beyond that. Bleh.

  • MCM says:

    Gustafsson is the ONLY LHW with a legit claim to the title at the moment. As Boner pointed out, the UFC screwed the pooch with Hendo. Machida may not want to fight Alex but he’s not deserving of a title shot either.

    I’m hoping Chael actually wins the LHW belt. Then the Spider will jump up for a title shot and be the first two divisional title holder. Jones will go through Hendo, Glover, Rashad or whomever they give him and get a title shot. Finally giving us the Jones/Silva fight the fans have been asking for.


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