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Sunday, Aug 05, 2012

Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” Dana White Lets UFC Fans Do His Job, Dan Henderson Lost In All The Title Shot Talk

UFC President Dana White

By Joshua Molina

It looks like Lyoto Machida is in line for the next title shot against Jon “Bones” Jones, unless of course UFC boss Dana White changes his mind again.

White originally said the winner of the Shogun Rua vs. Brandon Vera match would get the title shot. Fans complained and he flip-flopped. He said the fighter who wins most impressively in either the main event or the co-main event would get the shot. That put Machida and Ryan Bader in contention for the title shot.

Here’s the problem with letting the fans book your matches after you’ve already made a decision. You look like a weak leader. The fans look smarter than the promoter. Machida knocked out Bader in stunning fashion in the second round so he gets the title shot. Rua feels misled.

Does it really matter?

Jones has already devoured Lyota Machida. He also disposed of Rua by technical knockout. Would it be different a second time for either one of them? Nobody knows.

Machida said in the post-fight press conference: “I believe in myself for sure. I can beat him.”

Like Anderson Silva, Jones has an air of invincibility around him. It’s not likely that Machida will be able to do anything too differently against Jones. Look at Chael Sonnen, who mastered Silva for four rounds, only to get tapped out in the fifth. Sonnen couldn’t get out of the second round before getting knocked out in the rematch.

Dan Henderson

None of this talk about who gets the title shot is good news for Dan Henderson, who actually does get the next title shot against Jones on Sept. 1. Henderson, who was tapped out by Anderson Silva in 2008, experienced a career resurgence after moving to Strikeforce and knocking out Renato Sobral, Feijao, Fedor Emelianenko and then outlasting Rua.

Maybe the hype machine for the Jones vs. Rua fight is yet to begin, but there’s been far more talk of who’s going to get the next title shot out of Saturday’s UFC on Fox show, than whether Henderson defeat Jones.

Jones losing to Henderson would be a stunning upset. Henderson is a huge underdog. Although Henderson looks impressive against fighters who stand and bang with him, he looked old and on the brink of retirement against Jake Shields in his Strikeforce debut. It’s a good bet that Jones will fight Henderson more like Shields, than any of the fighters Henderson has defeated in the last two years.

Here’s another downside to White’s waffling on who gets the next title shot. If Henderson shocks the MMA world and knocks out Jones, the most obvious matchup would be Henderson vs. Rua. The two waged a classic battle last November in what turned out to be the Fight of The Year.

That’s the money match.

Attention now turns to UFC 150 and Ben Henderson vs Frankie Edgar in a rematch for the UFC Lightweight championship. Also on the card is Jake Shields, the submission specialist and former Strikeforce standout, who has gone 2-2 since performing in the UFC.

Shields, who came within one round of upsetting George St. Pierre (Shields is the only fighter in the last four years to win a round against St. Pierre) is hungry again. Shields needs an impressive win against Ed Herman, to not only be viable as a championship contender, but also to avoid slipping to the bottom of the UFC – or worse, lost in the cut throat world of UFC matchmaking.

Contact reporter Joshua Molina at jmolina@fcfighter.com. Or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JoshuaMolinaMMA

posted by FCF Staff @ 12:57 pm
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