UFC 130 Results: 5 Reasons Jon Jones Should Prefer Lyoto Machida Not Rampage
With his win over Matt "The Hammer" Hamill at UFC 130, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has set himself up quite nicely for a possible title shot against current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
The current issue is whether or not Jackson's hand injury will prevent him from that opportunity.
Jackson mentioned in his post-fight interview with MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani that he originally hurt his hand around December in a hotel "fight" in Japan with cornerman Dave Roberts.
"I was kicking his a** in the hotel, and I missed an elbow and I hit my hand on the ground, but then it healed up before camp. But then I was messing around sparring and then I did like an up jab, and I hurt it."
If Jackson's hand injury does not heal in time, Dana White confirmed that Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida will be next in line for a title shot against Jones.
For Jones, preparing for Jackson and preparing for Machida are two completely different animals. If it's true that styles make fights, then here are five reasons Jones should be thinking about fighting Machida more immediately than Jackson.
5: Rampage Has More Strength Than Machida
We acquire the strength we have overcome.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
In a fight against Jones, it would be clear that Jackson would have a clear-cut strength advantage over Machida.
For years, Jackson's bread and butter has been his strength advantage held over opponents, using his massive arms and pure strength to slam smother and whoop opponents left and right. Even Jackson's punches are brutal, knocking out the likes of Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, and Kevin Randleman.
Machida, while being strong-minded and having an indomitable will, is not known for his strength at all. In fact, it could be said that Machida's biggest strength is avoiding other fighters strengths. But in a fight against Jones, Jones is so unique that Machida won't be able to avoid many strengths.
At the very least, Jackson would have a punchers chance against Jones, using his power to fend off possible takedown attempts and spinning elbow combinations. The same cannot be said of Machida, who would likely look to evade these techniques, leaving himself open for some crazy move from the agile Jones.
4: Rampage Is a Wrestler, Not a Counter Puncher Like Machida
Jackson said in his win over Matt Hamill at UFC 130 that people forget he is a wrestler himself.
Perhaps it's because he's so punch-happy in all of his fights, but Jackson is correct.
Jackson was named to the All-State team after finishing fifth at the Tennessee State Tournament at 189 lbs. and then got involved in amateur wrestling at the junior college level. It was shortly after that when Jackson turned his focus towards MMA, and he's never looked back.
Using his background in wrestling, Jackson has worked on his boxing over the long term, becoming dangerous wherever the fight goes because of these two bases.
Machida is most known for his counter attack style, which does not bode well in a fight against Jones. "Bones" is a very patient fighter despite his speed and exciting style, and his composure can be seen in shades of his fights against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Ryan Bader.
Both fights were dictated by Jones' pace and patience, and the most telling feature in his win over Rua, in particular, was indeed the level of patience exhibited by the young superstar. While fans screamed from their houses for Jones to finish the fight, he waited for the right moment, taking out the former champion handily.
If Machida plans to counter Jones all night, expect Jones to use that long ten-inch advantage over Machida to batter and bruise "The Dragon."
3: Rampage Will Push the Fight, Machida Won't
Quinton Jackson has never been a complacent fighter. When opponents step into the Octagon opposite Rampage, they know he's going to bring the fight to them.
In his young career, Jones hasn't yet faced a legitimate competitor that has brought the fight to him. Rampage is one guy, amongst others, that will offer Jones that courtesy.
Machida, again speaking of his background as a counter puncher, is a very patient fighter that would rather let his opponent make the mistake first, then capitalize. Jackson would rather befuddle his opponent with consecutive punches, forcing mistakes in that manner.
This is perhaps the biggest contrast between Jackson and Machida, one that Jones can capitalize on either way. But going against Machida wouldn't be as exciting seeing as Jones wouldn't want to make a mistake that Machida could counter, effectively ending his championship reign quickly.
Don't get me wrong. Jackson knocked out UFC legend Chuck Liddell with a counter hook. Machida, though, has way more victims via counter, and more suitable for his Shotokan Karate style.
2: Machida's History and Rampage's History
This YouTube video does a good job of highlighting my point, but to further breakdown the two fighters histories, Jackson has the experience advantage over Machida, not that it will make huge difference come fight night.
Let's not forget, questionable or not, Jackson has the split decision victory over Machida. He pushed the pace in that fight as always, and it paid off in the judges mind when awarding Jackson with the win.
Both fighters are quite adept at exploiting their foes weaknesses, attacking them head on. They also handle themselves considerably well even when immersed in their opponents game plan.
When Machida fights, there are no questions to his game. He looks to counter every opportunity, every now and then breaking out of the mold and throwing something new like a Steven Seagal kick. Machida has also opened up his striking as of late, throwing more punches than fans are used to seeing from him.
Jackson too, leaves nothing to the imagination. His plan is to slug away, hoping for one of his many punches to drop the opposition. In his recent win over Matt Hamill, busted hand and all, Jackson stood with Hamill, not resorting to his wrestling to carry him over another wrestler. Not only would that have been boring, but it wasn't conducive to a Jackson win.
Fights aren't won based off statistics or the past, but figuring out a fighters tendencies and natural habits can be, and Jones would do well to study both fighters methodically to breakdown his foe in his first title defense bout.
1: The Jon Jones Effect
Whether it's Jackson or Machida, the Jon Jones effect will come into play, which favors Jackson more than Machida.
Unlike my colleague Darren Wong's Jones Effect article posted awhile back, this is the factor opposite that idea. Jones is arguably the most hated man in MMA as of late, though fighters likely don't see it as much as fans do.
Most fighters don't need additional reason to get up for a fight, but if they did, fighting Jones would certainly do it. Being the first fighter to actually defeat Jones is what a lot of light heavyweights in the UFC should, and will be gunning for. Jackson is a master at making fights personal, and the more personal it is for Rampage, the better he usually does in the fight.
Machida is not a fighter that likes to cause trouble before the fight, nor does he read into articles like these. Instead, Machida does all his talking during the bout, and undoubtedly if he is granted the shot against Jones, he'll give lots of praise leading up to the fight, just so that it's not too personal.
The long, athletic, unorthodox, blossoming champion is going to be comfortable fighting either of these two men. The consensus though could be that fighting Jackson is less preferable than Machida.
I'm just an MMA journalist though, so what do I know?