August 4, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lyoto Machida during UFC on FOX at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
It appears that two men who thought they had title shots in their back pocket could be facing each other next. At a UFC luncheon, Dana White was discussing Lyoto Machida, who earned a title shot at UFC on Fox 4 but turned down a short-notice fight with champion Jon Jones at UFC 152. He made it quite clear that because he turned down the shot, he's going to have to take another fight next. And the man across the octagon from him is going to be Dan Henderson (via MMA Fighting):
"[Machida] should have taken the fight. We've seen it, history always repeats itself. Look how long it took Rashad (Evans) to fight for the title again. So you wanted to fight Jon Jones, you climbed up to the title fight and you don't take it. Now you're fighting (expletive) Dan Henderson. Now you might not even get to the (expletive) title again. You lose to Dan Henderson you're not anywhere near Jon Jones," White said.
This isn't a 100% ironclad guarantee that the bout will happen. White goes off on tangents all the time, but it certainly seems like he wants Machida vs. Hendo to take place. He didn't discuss when the bout could go down, but logic dictates that it would be in early 2013. The winner of that bout would clearly get Jones, but if Jones gets by Vitor Belfort at UFC 152, is he willing to sit out for a while? Machida/Hendo likely couldn't happen until January, which means Jones wouldn't defend again until April or May. For a historically active champion, that might be too long to sit out. We'll have to see how it all plays out.