Because of the outcry over last night’s decision and because the UFC doesn’t really have anything else cooking at light heavyweight right now, a rematch between Lyoto Machida and Shogun Rua fits quite nicely into the promotion’s future plans. Here’s UFC.com basically confirming it:
“Of course I’m thinking about the rematch, all the time since the fight was called,” said Rua. “And if that’s (UFC President) Dana (White)’s wish and Lyoto’s wish, I’ll fight him anywhere, anytime, it’s just a matter of people wanting to put the fight together.”
“Of course. If the UFC decides we should have a rematch, then let’s have a rematch.”
White said at the UFC 104 post-fight press conference that a rematch is definitely next on each fighter’s plate, and while it’s too early to speculate on when Machida-Rua II could take place, it’s not too soon to start talking about what may happen in a return bout.
The situation works out for the UFC quite nicely for a lot of reasons, but at the core of all of these reasons is this fact: a beatable Machida is good for business. Midsy points out several 205 fights that suddenly matter because the Machida Era no longer seems like it’s going to last very long. I haven’t figured out if this is a massive bandwagon jump or just people being excited that things at 205 are suddenly exciting again. But either way, Machida’s meh performance last night sure has energized everyone, huh?
Personally, I think that attitude is all premature. This was Machida’s first title defense and he looked like shit. But how will he look in his next fight? Which Machida will we see? The decision-happy counterstriker who bored his way into our hearts early in his UFC career? The knockout artist his dad repeatedly claims he’s blossomed into just recently? Or this completely mortal dude we saw last night? Was this a sign of things to come or just a hiccup brought about by first time title defense nerves?
My bet is the real Machida – aka the one I hate, the one who’s fights are deadly dull – was trying to be the aggressive Machida we all wanted him to be. The result? The Machida we saw at UFC 104. Which Machida shows up next time, I have no idea. If he doesn’t figure out who he really is though, he could have a short time at the top. Not that I’m complaining or anything…