Jon Jones Not Interested in Facing Lyoto Machida, Is Sonnen Already in His Head?
With his second round knockout victory over Ryan Bader at UFC on FOX 4, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida earned a shot at regaining the crown he lost to Shogun Rua. However, it seems current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, has no interest whatsoever in a rematch with Machida, a fighter he defeated by choking Machida unconscious back at UFC 140.
Speaking to ESPN.com, Jones had the following to say about a potential matchup with Machida:
I don't want to fight Lyoto Machida. He was my lowest pay-per-view draw of last year. No one wants to see me fight Lyoto Machida. I don't want to fight Lyoto again. Lyoto is high risk and low reward. He's a tough fighter, but no one wants to buy that fight. Between (Mauricio) Shogun (Rua), (Quinton) Rampage (Jackson) and Rashad (Evans), Lyoto was my lowest draw. Why would I want to fight someone where it's a lose-lose situation? I won't make money on it. And he's a tricky fighter.
Maybe it’s me, but the timing on the above seems a bit strange. Machida earned the shot at the light heavyweight title on August 4; meaning nearly two weeks passed before Jones spoke up and said he didn’t want that fight. What made him change his mind? What made Jones suddenly start thinking about what fight would be best for his bank account?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s no coincidence that Jones’ interest in facing Machida suddenly turned non-existent. In fact, I’m going to speculate that Jones’ interest in that fight hit rock bottom about the same time that Chael Sonnen announced that he was moving to light heavyweight and that he was gunning for Jones.
Who do you want to see Jones face next?
Sonnen used his time as co-host on the August 14 edition of UFC Tonight to announce that he was moving up in weight and that he had his sights set on Jones; that is after he faces Forrest Griffin on December 29:
Sure I could go up to 205 and I could take Jon Jones’ belt away, the same as I could take his candy on Halloween. He’s a little punk kid. I could snatch it away all I want, but there’s something to be said in sportsmanship for earning your shot, and on the 29th of December, I’m going to go through Forrest to do it.
There are not many top ranked light heavyweights left for Jones to face. He’s already defeated the cream of the crop. At this point Jones has his fight with Dan Henderson on September 1 and after that it’s probably Alexander Gustafsson—only if Gustafsson can defeat Mauricio Rua or Sonnen. Put yourself in the shoes of Jones, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva or UFC President Dana White and ask yourself, which of those two fights is money in the bank?
After Jones and Sonnen had a rather heated exchange on Twitter, Jones claimed that he wasn’t “falling into chaels game.” However, it seems like he has already fallen into that game, how else can you explain his sudden eschewing of a potential fight with Machida based on the fact that it’s not going to make him any money?
To be honest, I have no issue with Jones saying he doesn’t want that fight because he’s right, no one wants to see that fight. But to somewhat transparently dance around the subject is silly. Jones needs to get this show on the road, get passed Henderson on September 1 and get to naming names. The first name out of his mouth when Joe Rogan puts the microphone in his face for his post-fight interview should be Chael Sonnen because you can rest assured that you’re going to be hearing Jones name uttered a whole lot by Sonnen in the coming months.
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