After Lyoto Machida defeated Dan Henderson at UFC 157 (which I still think Hendo won), Dana White claimed that he would get the next title shot at light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Now with Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira and others rising up the rankings, the big question is, who is next for the champ? There are a ton of top contenders out there that would make perfect sense for Jon Jones, but only one that fits the bill in my opinion.
Chael Sonnen has said it the best that Glover Teixeira is nothing but hype at the moment. I couldn’t agree more. He is good and could be the future champ, but until then he needs to fight a top ten guy to even be considered in the top ten. I do not think that Glover is a top ten fighter yet.
If he wasn’t Chuck’s new protege, he would be way down the ladder. He looked very impressive in his last fight, but to go from a washed up Rampage to Jame Te Huna made no sense. Glover has already been called out by Phil Davis which makes perfect sense and would really test the skills of the up and comer. Teixeira has already said he wants the winner of Rashad versus Henderson. Either fight makes sense right now, but a title fight is way down the line for all you Glover fans.
Lyoto Machida in one of the most skilled counter fighters in all of MMA. And when I say skilled, I mean boring. Machida has had some of the scariest finishes in the UFC, but he hasn’t looked as good lately and is inconsistent.
He knocked out Bader cause Bader ran right at his fist, but he would’ve beaten Rampage if he was more aggressive. In his last fight, I had Dan Henderson winning a unanimous due to pressure and accuracy. Machida has already received his title shot and some believe he had Jones on the edge of his feet in the first round.
Machida is a scary-counter fighter and Jones wasn’t going to let him sucker him into a counter fight. Jones might have lost the first round, but when you make Jones mad, he puts you to sleep. Jones is the only person to put Machida away in stylish fashion via a submission. What is really going to be different in the rematch? Jones just gets better and better and he needs new competition. Machida is number one contender and will more than likely be next in line, but fans will be disappointed when they see Jones run through Machida once again.
Alexander Gustafsson makes the most sense right now for Jon Jones. He is a top name that will bring in a huge fan base and has earned his title shot. With back-to-back wins over Thiago Silva and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua , Gustafsson could easily get the next shot. Some still want to see “The Mauler” take on Gegard Mousasi, but with his rumored plans to move to middleweight, I don’t see that happening.
Dana White thinks that Jones/Gustafsson makes the most sense right now and fans agree. Gustafsson has the reach, the wrestling, and striking to give the champ a real challenge. Jones and Gustafsson have had some exchanges on twitter and seem to be hyping up this potential fight.
~ Final Thought ~
Glover has potential to be the future champ, but he needs a couple more good opponents and finishes first. I see Hendo beating Rashad, and a Glover/Hendo fight makes perfect sense if Glover won’t fight Phil Davis.
Jones needs an opponent, but if his lay off is longer than expected (injured toe), a Machida versus Gustafsson fight would make perfect sense. You could put that on the Fox Sports1 1 card. That’s the only way I see “The Dragon” just “giving” up his title shot. The problem is, Dana White has the say, gives the fans what they want, and the fans want Jones versus Gustafsson. I see the fans getting what they want.
Big Question: Where will that leave Machida if Gustafsson cuts in front of him in the pack?