Lyoto Machida is officially next in line to challenge for the UFC light heavyweight championship.
UFC President Dana White announced the news immediately following UFC on Fox 4, which took place Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“I think Machida looked the most impressive tonight,” White told commentator Joe Rogan. “He seems to have this fire inside of him. He wants that title, and he wants [another] shot at Jon Jones. Everything I’ve seen from this guy in the way that he acts and what he says shows me that he wants this title shot.”
Machida looked razor-sharp in his co-main event clash with Ryan Bader, keeping the powerful wrestler off balance with straight punches and body kicks in the first frame. Though unsuccessful in closing the distance in round one, Bader nevertheless charged forward in round two with a right hand, a decision that would ultimately lead to his undoing.
The Brazilian blocked the attack and landed a beautiful counter right straight, folding Bader back and sending him crashing to the canvas, where Machida met him with two more right hands to finish the job and secure his shot at the belt. “The Dragon” will now face the winner of Jon Jones’ Sept. 1 title defense against ex-Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson at UFC 151.
“I feel very [good],” Machida said in his post-fight interview. “I think it was a great performance. The Dragon is back.”