Machida may be the UFC’s top light heavyweight contender, but
it may nevertheless take awhile for “The Dragon” to receive his
next crack at UFC gold.
While Machida had previously set his sights on the winner of
Jones’ recent UFC 159 clash with Chael
Sonnen, the Brazilian is now requesting to fight Alexander
Gustafsson after learning that the injured Jones could be
sidelined for some time. The winner of that title eliminator would
then challenge “Bones” when the 205-pound champion is back to full
“I am interested in this fight, because I think it’s a good idea to
put Gustafsson against me. He is the No. 2 contender, and I am the
No. 1 contender. Let’s see what happens,” Machida this week told
Fox Sports. “I would like to fight before I fight for the title,
maybe, because I don’t want to wait for a long time. I need to
When asked about a timetable on his potential clash with
Gustafsson, Machida did not mince words, asserting that he would
like to face the Swede “as soon as possible.”
Machida, 34, has earned back-to-back victories since he was choked
unconscious by Jones in December 2011. The former champion kicked
off 2012 with a second-round knockout of Ryan Bader
and followed that triumph with a Feb. 23 split decision victory
over former Pride Fighting Championships titlist Dan
Henderson at UFC 157.
Gustafsson, 26, found himself pulled from the UFC on Fuel TV 9
headliner earlier this month after suffering a cut over his eye the
week prior to the bout. “The Mauler” has won his last six fights,
most recently outpointing ex-champ Mauricio Rua
this past December at UFC on Fox 5.
Jones, 25, ran through Sonnen this past Saturday in the UFC 159
main event, securing his fifth consecutive title defense and tying
the UFC record held by Tito Ortiz.
Though dominant in his performance, Jones nonetheless suffered an
open fracture dislocation to his left big toe while pushing off the
canvas, and it is unclear when the champion will return to action.