UFC light heavyweight Lyoto Machida did what Mauricio Rua and Fedor Emelianenko could not in recent attempts by beating Dan Henderson last night at UFC 157. Of course, he barely scraped by and did so by playing it safe throughout the bulk of the bout, picking his strikes and then backing away. Though Machida’s victory came in a fair fashion, it drew a lot of criticism from fans expecting to see an entertaining effort and certainly hurt his hold on his status as the division’s top contender.
If Machida does indeed get a shot at the strap, as he’s been promised, he’ll face one of two men – champion Jon Jones or UFC 159 challenger Chael Sonnen. Jones has spoken out against Machida as an opponent before based on the Brazilian’s occasionally boring approach to action and now Sonnen is doing the same, ranting about the matter on Fuel TV’s post-event coverage of Saturday night’s show.
“I’m in on the business. I’m in on the pay-per-view business, and so is Jon Jones. Neither of us want to fight Machida because he can’t draw flies and that’s the bottom line,” said Sonnen, directing the rest of his response towards the former title-holder. “You got booed (at UFC 157). You got booed in your last fight. I can’t sell out an arena with you. I can’t sell pay-per-views with you. I’m not giving you the shot.”
Jones’ most recent comments on Machida came to ESPN last year before a proposed pairing, telling the outlet, “He was my lowest pay-per-view draw of last year. No one wants to see me fight Lyoto Machida. I don’t want to fight Lyoto again. Lyoto is a high risk low reward. He’s a tough fighter, but no one wants to buy that fight.”
Style aside, Machida’s success is hard to argue against. He holds an overall record of 19-3 with wins over Ryan Bader, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and Rashad Evans.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC