Title Shot Diaries: Alexander Gustafsson deserves it morePosted on August 8, 2012, 04:22 PM by Anton Gurevich
Fresh off his victory over Ryan Bader at UFC on FOX 4, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida was immediately proclaimed as the new number one contender in the UFC Light Heavyweight division. Machida will be facing the winner of UFC 151’s Jones vs. Henderson main event match-up, with sights on re-claiming the title he lost back at UFC 114.
Machida’s promotion to the number one contender met a strong amount of criticism from MMA fans around the world, who began to visualize the rematch with Jon Jones. Obviously, Jones has to get past Dan Henderson for the rematch to take place, but at the same time, there’s no doubt about Jackson-Winkeljohn product being a clear favorite against Hendo.
In the build-up to last weekend’s card, Dana White promised the title shot to the most convincing winner out of Machida vs. Bader, and Shogun vs. Vera. A quick google search will reveal that Jones finished all four of the mentioned above fighters with no “controversial” judges’ scorecards, disqualification, or submission victory with less than 30 seconds on the clock.
Yes, Machida proved he’s currently one level above Ryan Bader, no one doubts his achievements in this fight. However, let’s not forget that the Brazilian is 2-3 in his last five fights, and a number of unbalanced performances. More than anything, it’s hard to picture “The Dragon” dethroning Jon Jones.
Personally, I would absolutely love to see Lyoto Machida vs. Dan Henderson. It’s a fantastic clash of styles, just like Hendo vs. Shogun II for the title.
It seems like the Ultimate Fighting Championship are slowly falling into the trap of recycling fights. Frankie Edgar will have his third consecutive rematch this weekend (!), while the likes of Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz, Donald Cerrone, Jim Miller and Melvin Guillard get on seven-fight win streaks, and drop out of the title race simply because you can’t win forever.
Light Heavyweight division used to be the flagship of the UFC. Yes, Jon Jones is THAT good to clean out the division, but still, there’s a number of young contenders who can add some fuel to the fire.
So why not Alexander Gustafsson? The young Swede is on a five-fight win streak, with some quality finishes against Top 10 UFC talent. At least on paper, it looks like Gustafsson is a perfect contender for Henderson/Jones. Gustafsson’s footwork, and overall fighting style are a joy to behold. He’s a fresh product in the world of Mixed Martial Arts, and at least in my opinion, "The Mauler" more than ready to get his title shot.
Prior to UFC on FOX 4, Gustafsson was the only Top 10 UFC 205’er on a serious win streak. Six-and-one in the UFC is a great achievement, especially when you beat Thiao Silva, Matyushenko, Hamill, and others. Even today, Machida and Rua need at least one victory to show certain degree of consistency.
I’m sure Lyoto Machida could give Jon Jones a very tough test inside the Octagon, and then again, Henderson vs. Machida is such a great match-up. Until then, give it to Gustafsson.