UFC 140 Fight Card: What a Win Would Mean for Lyoto Machida

Andrew Barr@@andrewbarr8Correspondent IDecember 10, 2011

Tonight, Lyoto Machida takes on UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, in a bout scheduled to be the main event of the evening.

Machida found himself in the same position two years ago, ready to challenge Rashad Evans for the UFC light heavyweight crown.

At the time, Machida was 14-0 and considered to be one of the sport's greatest prospects.

Machida would take the belt from Evans, knocking out the former champion in the second round, and ushering in what Joe Rogan referred to as the "Machida Era."

However, this era was short lived as Machida defended his title against Mauricio Rua in highly controversial fight and then lost to Rua in the resulting rematch.

Since losing the belt, Machida has gone through a rough patch, losing to Quinton Jackson and following that up witha win over Randy Couture, but things started going his way when an injury to Evans allowed Machida to step to the front of the line for a title shot.

What would a win tonight mean for Machida?

Everything.

It would prove to the world that he is—pardon the cliche—back and better than ever.

Machida has been criticized a lot since losing the title and tonight is his big chance to prove to everyone that he really is the man in the 205 lbs. weight class.

Two years ago, Machida was supposed to be the next huge star in MMA, and now people are saying that star is Jones.

A victory tonight would give Machida the opportunity to achieve true greatness in this sport and the chance to usher in a second, hopefully longer, Machida era.

Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com. For updates on what's happening in the world of MMA, follow him on Twitter @AndrewBarr8.

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