White explains why Machida was bumped as #1 Contender

Posted: June 14, 2013 in Commentary/Opinion, Latest news

Lyoto-MachidaRemember when Lyoto Machida beat Ryan Bader and was given the #1 contender label? And do you remember when Machida beat Dan Henderson and was again given the #1 contender label? Well those didn’t work out too well for The Dragon did they? As we now know, he’s been bypassed yet again—this time in favor of Alexander Gustafsson.

So why the change? Dana White addressed that very question. It seems champ Jon Jones had a problem with fighting Machida for a second time, and White listened.

“I said that we will give the fight to Lyoto Machida,” White explained. “But, Jon Jones was like, ‘I annihilated Machida, I already fought Machida, I annihilated him, and I’ve never fought Gustafsson. Me and Gustafsson have some beef and that’s the fight I really want.’”

So Jones made the request and White made the switch. Machida, the former champ, is 3-3 since winning a questionable decision against Shogun Rua back in 2009. Although he escaped with the win that night, he’s just .500 since.

Meanwhile, Gustafsson has won six straight, and has just one career loss—a 1st round submission loss to Phil Davis in 2010.

Although the idea of champions hand-picking their opponents has a negative connotation—and for good reason—the Gustafsson fight seems to make sense. He’s a new challenger for Jones, as opposed to Machida. And he’s also on the upswing of his career—which in the eyes of a large group of fans, is exactly what the again light heavyweight division is in need of.

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