Lyoto Machida and not Rashad Evans will next face the current UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones at UFC 140 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on December 10th, 2011. UFC President, Dana White revealed the news via Twitter earlier tonight. Given the rehabilitation time Rashad Evans requires for a dislocated thumb, He would not be 100 percent ready by December 10th.
Jones will compete for the fourth time this year, defeating “Ultimate Fighter” season eight winner, Ryan Bader via submission, then light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for the title via TKO and also former champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson via submission for his first defence just last month.
Machida is coming off a spectacular flying front-kick knockout of Hall of Famer, Randy Couture, the last time the promotion visited the province. Prior to that he lost back-to-back difficult defeats to former light heavyweight champs, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Machida, speaking via Tatame Magazine, said:
“I was at a birthday party last night and I heard I’d be fighting Jon Jones. I accepted immediately, I couldn’t announce it at the time, though. Ed and Joinha told me to hold the information and it was complicated, I had to stop talking at all (laughs). In the morning I want to give a class and, when I came back, the contract was there for me to sign it. It was a reason for me to be happy, because that’s why we enter these battles for. It’ll be a strategic bout, he’s a guy who studies his opponents and so do I. Our team is a lot focused and anything can happen.”
“It’s hard, he’s is much versatile and knows a lot of techniques, but we play a similar game. He kicks, I kick, he punches and goes to the ground, I can defend myself and take him down too. Stamina and game plan are things that could define this bout’s outcome. Nobody is invincible. We’re training for the best, looking for enlarging our body and mind and that’s what I’m gonna do.”
“I’m already 100%. I used to go to the United States for a different training camp, but I’ve canceled it all with the fight announcement. I’ll focus my camp here and I’ll look for sparring who can come here and will be tough as Jon Jones.”
The now former number one contender, Rashad Evans released a statement today, saying:
“After my last fight against Tito Ortiz, I dislocated my right thumb, which required it to be set back in place and held with pins. 24 hours ago, my physician removed the pins. At that time, I learned that it would require another three weeks of rehabilitation before engaging in any exercise or training that would require the use of my hand. Dana White and I spoke earlier today, and I fully understand his decision to put Machida against Jones for the title at UFC 140. Given the rehabilitation time I require for my dislocated thumb, I would not be 100 percent ready by December 10. The UFC has to keep making fights that entertain the fans. I would have done the same thing as Dana in his position. I’m asking for the fans to support me as I rehabilitate my hand, and I promise I will be back fighting very quickly.”