UFC 140 Fight Card Primer: Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon "Bones" Jones and challenger Lyoto Machida face off after weighing in during the UFC 140 Official Weigh-in at the Air Canada Centre on December 9, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

At UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida, Jon Jones (14-1; 8-1 UFC) will defend his title against challenger and former champion Lyoto Machida (17-2; 9-2 UFC). This Light Heavyweight title fight will be the main event of the evening. According to the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, Jones is currently the #1 Light Heavyweight in the world, with The Dragon just outside the top 5 at #6. The PPV card begins Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

One of the big stories of this fight deals with the history of the UFC Light Heavyweight title. Ever since Rampage Jackson KO'd Chuck Liddell, the title has bounced around, from Rampage to Forrest, to Rashad, to Lyoto, to Shogun, to Jones, with no one successfully defending the belt more than once. It's a fierce division, and this kind of revolving door at the top shows just how even it is. But with this fight, one of these two men will distinguish himself from the pack. Either Jones will become only the 4th man in the history of the division to defend the belt more than once (joining the likes of Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, and the Iceman), or Lyoto will become just the 2nd man to regain the crown (alongside Randy Couture). The stats nerd in me gets excited about that.

How do these two stack up?

Jones: 24 years old | 6'4" | 84.5" reach
Machida: 33 years old | 6'1" | 74" reach

What have these two done recently?

Jones: W - Quinton Jackson (Sub) | W - Mauricio Rua (TKO) | W - Ryan Bader (Sub)
Machida: W - Randy Couture (KO) | L - Quinton Jackson (SD) | L - Mauricio Rua (KO)

How did these two get here?

Jones rides a wave of well deserved hype heading into this fight. 2011 has been absolutely huge for the young fighter, who went from highly touted prospect, to champion of the toughest UFC division. If he wins against Lyoto, there can be no question that he is the fighter of the year. His last two fights in particular have been masterpieces. First, he outwrestled and just plain beat up champion Shogun Rua, then he outstruck and outsmarted Rampage. It really feels like we are in the Jones era, as many are wondering if anyone can beat him.

When you say "era", it's hard to forget the ill-fated "Machida era." After Lyoto won the belt from Rashad Evans, Joe Rogan famously declared this the Machida era, stating that Lyoto would be champ for some time. It wasn't to be, as he won a very close and controversial decision over Shogun in his first defense, and was KO'd by Shogun in his second. He followed that up with a loss to Rampage that many (including myself) thought he rightly won. He comes in as the challenger on just a 1 fight win streak. That fight was the Karate Kid style highlight reel KO of Randy Couture - an impressive KO, but not an opponent that at this point should launch you into a title shot. Still, he's a former champion, and a Jones vs. Lyoto fight was inevitable.

Why should you care?

I said it at UFC 135, and I'll say it again here - Jones stands beside Anderson Silva as one of the most exciting and best fighters in the world. The eventual Evans fight may have more drama, but I think this is, from a pure sports standpoint, his best match-up out there right now. It's going to be a technical beauty from both men, and I can't wait.

More UFC 140 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.

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