“I had a pretty revealing conversation with Lyoto in Los Angeles yesterday,” Anik said earlier this week. “It really seems like he wants to fight Jon Jones again. I mean, not that he’s thinking about a return to 205 (pounds); he loves being at 185. But he just kept coming back to the superfight and the megafight, and it seems like he wants to fight Jonny ‘Bones’ again.”
The two met at UFC 140 in what was Jones’ second title defense and Machida’s first attempt at regaining the belt after ceding it to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 113. Machida won the bout’s first round. But in the second, Jones caught him in a standing guillotine choke and squeezed until he dropped lifelessly to the mat.
In his next fight, Machida rebounded in a big way, knocking out Ryan Bader at UFC on FOX 4 to earn a rematch with Jones. But when he turned down a short-notice opportunity at UFC 152, he fell out of favor as the UFC’s No. 1 contender, and Jones brushed off a second bout.
Machida squeaked by ex-champ Dan Henderson at UFC 157, but when he fell short against Phil Davis at UFC 163 via controversial decision, his diminishing title prospects prompted him to move to middleweight. There, he made an instant impression with a first-round knockout of Mark Munoz.
Machida subsequently outpointed Gegard Mousasi in this past month’s UFC Fight Night 36 headliner, and when No. 1 middleweight contender Vitor Belfort was scratched from a title shot against champ Chris Weidman at UFC 173, he eagerly accepted.