UFC President Dana White, along with UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright and UFC 140 headliners Jon “Bones” Jones and Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, participated in a press conference Wednesday to help promote “UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida“, a Pay-Per-View event scheduled for Dec. 10 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Some critics have questioned why former UFC light heavyweight champion Machida (17-2) is getting a title shot against Jones (14-1) since his only win since losing the title was his jumping head kick knockout of Randy Couture at UFC 129 in April.
White justified the match-up today by pointing out the fact Machida has been around a long time and went undefeated for five-and-a-half years. He also believes stylistically the bout presents a unique and tough challenge for both fighters.
There is no doubt Machida’s elusive style is hard to deal with. And it is one of the main reasons he won 16 straight fights, and eight inside the UFC Octagon, before Mauricio “Shogun” Rua solved the riddle. White said if Jones can run through Machida the way he has everyone else, “the sky is the limit” for the 24-year-old fighter.
White has been extremely impressed, not only with the talent of Jones inside the Octagon, but the way he has handled himself and dealt with the pressure of being a UFC champion at such a young age. “He’s dealing with a lot of stuff that creates a lot of pressure and I’m very impressed with the way he’s handling it all. It’s unbelievable. … I’ve said many times he has the full package,” White stated today.
The spotlight shining on Jones has increased dramatically over the last year, especially since winning the title. Jones explained one lesson he has learned, “I need to be more careful with the words I say because of how every little thing I say is scrutinized.”
When asked how he plans to deal with Machida, Jones said, “Just be myself. I’m aware he’s never competed against anyone like me. Study, figure out his tendencies and take it from there.” Jones feels his youth and athleticism will also play a role.
For Machida, at 33, he feels his experience will be an advantage. “I guarantee on December 10th I will be very well prepared and will overcome his athleticism with my technique,” said “The Dragon”.
As far as training partners, there are not many people who can replicate the type of style and athletic ability “Bones” Jones brings to the table. However, Machida has someone in his corner who can fill that role. “Anderson [Silva] already called me and said he wants to come out to my hometown and train with me for this fight,” said Machida.
White was also questioned whether or not a “dream fight” between Silva and Jones, the UFC middleweight champ vs. the UFC light heavyweight champ, was a possibility for the foreseeable future. Jones chimed in that he is not looking past Machida at this point and White said Silva’s next opponent will likely be Chael Sonnen. In other words, it is not something Jones or the UFC is even considering at this point.
After fielding questions from the media today, White turned the mic over to the UFC fans who were in attendance. The first fan question was for White, “Do you think Steve Mazzagatti and Keith Kizer are gay lovers?”
Fight fans can watch a replay of today’s UFC 140 press conference on-demand here: Watch today’s UFC 140 press conference LIVE on ProMMAnow.com at 1 p.m. ET.