Underrated- Lyoto Machida Deserves a Chance at The Light Heavyweight Belt

Jared RussellCorrespondent ISeptember 11, 2008

In the world of mma there are two types of people, those who are champions and those who are not, it sometimes gets a little hazy when it comes to the subject off who should be next in line to fight that champion though.

To me there is right now unquestionably one person int the world of mma that deserves a title shot and has yet to receive it, that man is Lyoto Machida. 13-0 in his mma career he has never once shown weakness, always the dominant sometimes confusing fighter. He has beaten the likes of Rich Franklin, B.J. Penn and Tito Ortiz, three of the biggest names in the UFC. But among others he has fought and been victorious against are Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, who is a rising star himself as well, and Michael McDonald of K-1 fame.

Their seems to be only one factor in my mind as to why this man who may be the best pound for pound light heavyweight in the world has yet to receive his chance at the belt. That reason simply being the fact he is not the exciting, rampaging monster that UFC fans have come to expect. He is a intelligent, cerebral fighter who has a style specifically designed to negate the overall aggressive nature of mma fighters.

For Dana White to even consider Lyoto Machida is almost incomprehensible, the man is slow paced and methodical, something U.S. fans have not come to expect from their UFC. The people don't want a champion who can't be hit and can't finish a fight by a knockout, something Machida has problems doing. The majority of his fights have been won by decision and this is something that is what probably keeps him on the border of a title shot and ejection from the UFC all in the same time.

Machida has become long overdue for a shot a the light heavy weight belt, but instead of giving him his deserved chance they will most likely make him fight another undefeated Brazillian  fighter in Thiago Silva, who has just as equally an impressive undefeated streak. However, what puts Machida ahead of Silva in deserving a title shot is the amount of big names he has fought and defeated. Not to take away from Silva's wins against tough opponents as James Irvin and Houston Alexander, but those fighters simply do not have the same amount of name recognition as Ortiz, Penn and Franklin, all of whom were or are champions.

Instead we will see an American more than likely have his chance at the belt first in Rashad Evans. Evans who is also undefeated seems to have gained first priority in a title shot simply for the fact he knocked Chuck Liddell out in his last fight. Liddell has lost three of his last four fights. He happens to be the only champion that Rashad has actually beat, his fight against Ortiz was a draw.

Is this fair on the UFC's part? The answer is probably not, Machida is a very skilled fighter, but until he is capable of wowing an audience he will probably be stuck in this limbo. Machida needs to prove that he can excite a U.S. audience, everyone knows he can win a fight people, but this simply is not enough for the Vegas glitz of the UFC.