Lyoto Machida is no longer the number one light-heavyweight contender.
UFC president Dana White confirmed Machidaâs loss of pole position during an appearance on FUEL TV last night. The Brazilian earned the spot with a big knockout win over Ryan Bader at UFC on FOX 4 - but then lost it because he didnât âstep upâ to fight Jon Jones on short notice.
When Dan Henderson was forced out of UFC 151 with Jones and a mutually agreeable replacement couldnât be found, the UFC cancelled the September 1 event and moved Jones to their September 22 event in Canada.
On the conference call announcing the cancellation, White told listeners that he had spoken to Machidaâs manager and that the karate stylist would be facing Jones on September 22 rather than waiting for the winner of Jones vs. Henderson as had been originally planned.
But Machidaâs manager hadnât actually spoken to Machida, because Machida was on a plane. Instead he had assumed he would take the fight - but when Machida got involved he turned it down, saying four weeks was not long enough to prepare. This added another layer to the UFCâs already considerable embarrassment and Machidaâs title shot was the casualty.
âWhen I make a fight, I donât say a word until everything is signed. I did exactly what I never do. That big media call was the next day and Machida couldnât be reached and his manager thought heâd take the fight,â White says.
âBefore this happened he was terrorizing me for a title shot, and then he said four weeks wasnât enough. But then things start going in another direction. It happened to Rashad Evans. He was out of a fight for a year and a half. Machida is not next in line now. He will need to go fight somebody else first.â
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