• UFC 152

Machida comfortable with Jones rematch decision

ESPN staff
September 3, 2012

Lyoto Machida will not be surprised if he has to face another light-heavyweight opponent before he gets another shot at UFC champion Jon 'Bones' Jones.

Machida, who lost to Jones in his penultimate appearance in the Octagon, turned down the chance of an almost immediate rematch at UFC 152, with Vitor Belfort eventually stepping in to face the young American.

The Brazilian realises that the decision to turn down the fight will probably mean he is forced to take another interim bout against another divisional contender before he is offered another shot at Jones - but his camp insists that is not a problem.

"If he has to take another fight before the title fight, that's okay," Ed Soares, Machida's manager, said. "But one thing that we want to know is we want to make sure that he's 100 per cent prepared for this next title shot."

Soares explained that is why Machida declined the immediate rematch, noting that fighters with two defeats to the champion of their weight class on their resume usually end up being forced to rebuild their career at a lower level - or in a different class entirely.

"Every guy who has lost to a champion twice in that weight division basically has to reinvent themselves and most likely change weight divisions," Soares said. "For us, the way I look at it, that's a big step. For the UFC potentially, it's just another event. It's just UFC 151 or 152 or whatever it is, but for Lyoto it's a much bigger decision in his life.

"I know that in Lyoto's heart and in his mind, he believes he can still be the light heavyweight champion of the world. So if he's going to take this chance, and he's going to take this opportunity to fight against Jon Jones, he wants to make sure he puts his best foot forward and be 100 per cent. Because if he loses, it's not just like he's losing another fight. He really has to sit back and reinvent himself and figure out what am I going to do."

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