Why Jon Jones Should Face Lyoto Machida After Matyushenko

Brandon HinchmanCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2010

Jon Jones, the biggest up-and-coming MMA phenomenon in the UFC, is about to face Vladimir Matyushenko, a talented wrestler, and MMA veteran.

Without a doubt, Jones will disassemble Matyushenko fairly easily. His power alone is probably enough to rival any heavyweight, and out of every single fighter in the UFC, Jones shows the most promise.

That being said and predicting that he does walk through Matyushenko, Jones needs to have a true test, and Lyoto Machida would be the perfect individual.

Machida is on the road to recovery from a devastating loss to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.  Machida's orbital bone was banged up a bit, so he'll probably be out for another few months, enough time to recover for a bout with Jones after his fight with Matyushenko.

Although Machida is nowhere near as powerful as Jones, his speed and strategy would make for a great match that could only earn both of them more credibility than they have at the time.

Jones was thrown Matt Hamill and Brandon Vera as tests for his growing skill, and despite the official loss to Hamill, he absolutely dominated both of them as expected.

Although Machida lost quickly to Shogun in their last match, he was the champion for a reason: a well deserved knockout victory over Rashad Evans.

Although Evans is my favorite fighter to watch, I must admit that Machida had a great strategy for dealing with him as he predicted Evans would stand and trade with him versus renew his wrestling roots as he's recently undergone.

The former champ is now set to reclaim his title, and although he may be eager to once again derail Evans, Machida really needs to earn his way back into being a top contender for the title.

Machida would be a reputable test for Jones given his success alone, and a win over Machida would put Jones in line to fight for a place in a title match.

Although I predict that Machida would lose this match, it would likely be Jones's biggest test to date, and being two fights away from earning a title shot is exactly where he deserves to be considering the beatings he's given everyone to date.

Machida may end up being the gatekeeper of the light heavyweight division if he lost to Jones, but there's plenty of time for him to once again carve a name for himself in what is probably the most competitive division in the UFC.

No matter who Jones fights next, though, this kid should be on the fast track to a championship match before he fills out a bit more and moves up to heavyweight. Let's hope we can see the best light heavyweight fights while we still can.