Should Chael Sonnen defeat Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 159 in April, he has no interest in defending the strap against the latest number one contender, Lyoto Machida.
On FUEL TV's UFC 157-post fight show, "The American Gangster" tore "The Dragon" to shreds, saying he is a boring fighter who is incapable of selling pay-per-views (transcription via MMA Mania).
"Does Lyoto Machida deserve another title shot? Absolutely. Is he a great fighter? Absolutely. I'm in on the business; I'm in on the pay-per-view (PPV). So is Jon Jones, but neither of us want to fight him because he can't draw flies. That's the bottom line. He got booed tonight; he got booed in his last fight. I can't sellout an arena with you; I can't sell PPV's with you. I'm not giving him the shot. Alexander Gustafsson, Gegard Mousasi, step up and I'll take the winner."
Machida won a rather uneventful split decision against former PRIDE and Strikeforce champ Dan Henderson at UFC 157, and his performance doesn't exactly have fans clamoring for Machida-Jones 2.
In their first title showdown at UFC 140 in Dec. 2011, Jones submitted Machida with a standing guillotine choke in the second round, though the challenger convincingly won the first round.
Machida, a third dan black belt in Shotokan karate, is known for his elusive counter-striking, but his tendency to win by decision (10 wins by decision in 19 career victories) has recently drawn the ire of fans and analysts alike.
Should "The Mauler" win in impressive fashion, it would not be shocking to see him leapfrog Machida and get a shot at UFC gold against either Jones or Sonnen.
While Sonnen is no stranger to seeing his matchups go to the judges' scorecards either (16 decisions in 27 career wins), his impeccable skills to hype a fight have made him one of the company's top PPV draws in recent years.
Will Machida's unique style and lack of promo skills cost him another title shot? Or is this just another example of Sonnen blowing smoke?