Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has been in the cage with fellow ex-titleholder Mauricio Rua on two occasions: Machida won the first title match by disputed unanimous decision; Rua took the rematch by first-round KO.
“I have no doubt he could have fought better,” Machida told Sherdog.com. “I’m sure if Shogun was the same fighter he was when we fought in Los Angeles, the fight would have been much more difficult for Jones.”
That statement didn’t sit well with Jones’ manager Malki Kawa.
“This is Machida’s way of saying: ‘Hey, I’m not as bad as I seem now.’ It’s Machida’s way of getting himself into the title picture if he beats Randy Couture,” Kawa told ESPN.com.
“The only reason [Machida] would say something like that is because of the way Jon beat Shogun; it makes it seem that if [Jon] fought Machida, he would do the same thing to him. That’s the consensus out there. So, he has to sit there and start answering those types of questions. Instead of making it sound like, ‘Holy Cow! Jon Jones is the man at 205,’ it’s easier to say that Shogun had something wrong with him.
“In reality, Jon Jones would probably beat Machida just as fast, if not faster than he beat Shogun.”