August 4, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lyoto Machida after UFC on FOX at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
The last couple days have been an absolute whirlwind of incredible news from the UFC. First, rumors surfaced that UFC 151 headliner Dan Henderson suffered a sever injury that forced him to withdraw from the bout. Then, the next morning, UFC president Dana White announced that they had to cancel the event after Jon Jones refused a late-replacement bout against Chael Sonnen, but he would face former Light Heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida at UFC 152. Finally, late Thursday night it came out that, in fact, Machida turned down the title fight against Jones and would be replaced Vitor Belfort.
Following such a curious decision, MMA Fighting reported the response from Machida and his camp:
According the press release sent out through the Black House camp on Friday afternoon, Machida turned down the bout because he felt four weeks was inadequate time to prepare for a fight with the current light heavyweight champion.
"I want to serve the UFC and recapture the belt. I always respect my opponent," Machida stated. "For those reasons, I must prepare myself in the manner I believe in."
With his second round KO win over Ryan Bader at UFC On Fox 4, Lyoto Machida claimed his contender's spot against Jon Jones. However, turning down a high-profile fight and forcing the UFC to find a desperation replacement will not be looked at favorably by the UFC brass. Although no statement has been released by any UFC official, Machida's spot as next contender is definitely in jeopardy following this decision.