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Is “Shogun” Rua Getting the First Crack at Lyoto Machida?

(Gotta love Dana White’s newfound love of Twittering.)

Well, look who stopped by the UFC office yesterday, oddly right around the same time the UFC was putting together “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans as the coaches of TUF 10, thus leaving Lyoto Machida without a title challenger.  Why, it’s our old friend "Shogun" Rua.  White said on today’s conference call that Machida would not be waiting until after Jackson and Evans settle their black-on-black crime beef in order to make his first title defense, so could it be that “Shogun” has already been tapped to do a little Brazilian-on-Japanese/Brazilian violence? 

I gotta say, if that’s the case it’s a huge mistake.  Here we have Machida, who has already been crowned a dominant champ without even defending the title once, and they’re taking the obvious number one contender out of the running in order to drive up reality TV ratings while simultaneously making a very weak case for Rua.  

The guy beat up an elderly, gassed Mark Coleman (barely) and an old, on-his-way-into-retirement Chuck Liddell (convincingly).  Look at just about anybody’s rankings and you won’t see him any higher than the number five spot.  This is the guy they want to get the first crack at the champ who no one is supposed to have a chance against?

Say for a moment it’s not Rua.  Say it’s someone else.  Who, apart from Jackson, would even be worth talking about?

The UFC is essentially fabricating a number one contender here for the sheer sake of convenience.  In other words, they’re making the same mistake that boxing made over and over again — a mistake that has helped drive that sport to the fringe of American consciousness.  Even if they don’t put Rua against Machida first, virtually anyone they get would be a disappointment.

Look at the light heavyweight top ten.  Now tell me who would be a legitimate challenger.  Forrest Griffin is coming off a loss, plus he’s already booked.  “Babalu” Sobral isn’t even top five, and he was ousted from the UFC for the stunt against David HeathKeith Jardine is obviously not contender material at this point, nor is Brandon Vera.  Luiz Cane barely squeaks into the top ten.  Short of signing Fedor, the UFC has got nothing interesting to give to Machida.

But for the sake of TV they’re going to pretend someone has earned a shot when they haven’t, and in the process demean everything Machida had to go through — being undefeated, waiting for several other people to get injured, etc. — just to get his crack at the title. So much for the legitimacy of establishing a number one contender.  So much for the UFC making decisions based on anything other than the pursuit of the quickest possible buck. 

Is this what they meant by “The Machida Era?”

Cagepotato Comments

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cagedtater- June 24, 2009 at 5:41 am
then who the hell BESIDES rua could give machida a run for his money..rashad and rampage cant, this is my opinion rampage has better boxing and slams but rashad deffinently has the power advantage and hes also quicker then rampage, i heard 4 some reason that rampage wouldnt fight machida and i really dont think rashad wants a rematch anytime soon so that leaves rua which would b a really good like 2 c rashad start workin on his ground game and his kicks then take a rematch with machida
cagedtater- June 24, 2009 at 5:33 am
HAL.....your completely..RETARDED im not sayin at all that fedor is the best pound 4 pound fighter, but ive seen alot of his fights...killed tim silvia with ease(which isnt sayin a whole lot) and pretty well the only punch he threw on arlovski put him on his face..LITERALLY and he IS for sure 1 of, if not THE BEST armbar practitioners there ever will b...brocks overated mir will make him tap again and so would fedor the only ppl i think would make a good match 4 fedor would b mir...i also think cain velasquez will b a really great fighter once he gets some more experience
cagedtater- June 23, 2009 at 11:47 pm
ur funny..machida would knock him out first round not 2 mention since forrest is gonna put him in his place
matchuhugs- June 21, 2009 at 1:27 pm
then who? Rampage?.....He beat an old Chuck too
matchuhugs- June 21, 2009 at 1:26 pm
fuck yea! that's what I'm saying Pride 2005! I do not understand the hatred of Shogun he's a young dude and made a mess of Rampage. So why is everyone saying Rampage? I'm at a loss...
matchuhugs- June 21, 2009 at 1:24 pm
Did you guys forget. Shogun beat the shit out of Rampage in Pride in round one. So why is everyone picking Rampage on this one. Rampage is a prick who threw extra hits on Silva after he was knocked out probably because he was embarrassed after being knocked out cold by Silva....twice in Pride. I believe Rashad is better than Rampage and he was out technique by Machida. Shogun's not gonna beat Machida, but he has a better chance than Rashad who has a giant head for a target.
xrefused- June 7, 2009 at 2:40 am
Shogun would fucking destroy Griffin if he were in shape and anyone else in the LHW division EXCEPT for machida. seriously whats with all the shogun hatred? lets see how you utilize youre muay thai and bjj with shitty blown out knees, fighting with those kinds of injuries alone proves he is world class, if his record didnt already speak for itself. Dana white knew he could hype the 'pride fighters' are pussies angle by getting someone who got sidelined for over a year and a half (with no real cardio training) to fight Forrest but before he got tired he was dominating that fight, imagine what he would do at 100%. In the coleman fight there were lots of times he could have finished if he had the energy, he'd have stood no chance either normally. Then Shogun knocks Liddell the fuck out in devastating fashion and no one is conviced even though they thought he would get raped, but Rashad gets credit? I feel like Rua still needs a couple of fights to get a shot but who else is more deserving? Who else is unpredictable and versatile enough in that whole fucking division to give machida any trouble? not fuckin keith jardine. I think if Rua brings it this will be a good fight and with such a vast skill set I have no idea why someone would count him out. and for anyone that thinks rampage is more suited for the job, does anyone remember the fight round of the pride 2005 middle weight grand prix?
HAL_13- May 30, 2009 at 7:50 am
Goog- May 29, 2009 at 2:38 pm
Seriously, guys... Rua loses to Forrest and beats an old chuck.... now you say he's the ONLY guy who can possibly match up with Machida, who's achieved God-status faster than if he'd won it from a scratch off ticket. None of you would have been saying Rua even deserves a match in the week after the Forrest fight. I love the [lack of] thought process here. Without really doing shit, Rua is the man to beat Machida. Yeah, that makes sense.
ArmFarmer- May 29, 2009 at 11:38 am
The word has become so incredibly over used that I die a little inside every time I see the word epic.. :'(
High Left Kick- May 29, 2009 at 9:43 am
yessss after Shogun beats Machida it will just be 1 step closer to a PRIDE re-match between Rampage and Shogun. Fucking epic.
Spacebump- May 29, 2009 at 9:36 am
I know he's a total noob, but for an awkward style vs awkward style match up Machida vs Jon Jones would be awesome.
drummer- May 29, 2009 at 8:35 am
first title shot should be Rampage, but he doesn't want it. I think he's a pussy who knows he can't beat Machida and he's hoping someone else does it first so he has a chance at winning a title fight. IF Shogun has his shit together again he is the only one who has a chance right now at Machida. However the IF is yet to be seen. Rampage is a clown and want to watch Machida smash him but I geuss that is not going to happen now.
Kimbos Bread- May 29, 2009 at 8:21 am
Shogun will make for a great match.

Seriously CP, stop whining and enjoy the show.

And for gods sake, UFC; Sign Mousassi PRONTO!!!!!!
Jeffro- May 29, 2009 at 7:59 am
If the fight were in Japan, Shogun would take it.

I think that Luiz Cain will be the one take the belt from Machida. Someone has to do it...right?
Swedish- May 29, 2009 at 7:58 am
Why is CP complaining about this? Your favorite YAMMA champ Fedor had a fight with HMC....

You loved that but you critize this fight (which is legit IMO). Hypocrisy at it's best
BeastUnleashed- May 29, 2009 at 7:25 am
You think they should have had Rampage vs Machida and Rashad vs Rua for Sept. Instead.
ArmFarmer- May 29, 2009 at 7:00 am
Like I said in another article.. they need to stop putting title holders and top contenders on the stupid reality show and use popular fighters that aren't up for a title shot. I think putting hughes and trigg on as coaches would be a great idea.
Neither of them are in the title picture yet they are still names that everyone knows and they are both assholes that will create drama and a grudge, and they already have a history and a pre-exisintg grudge to build on. Put them on to coach and have them co main event a ppv with a good title fight. It would make for an entertaining show and put asses in seats and sell ppv's without putting titles or top contenders on the shelf.There are many other good pairs they could pick as coaches that was just an idea, but really any fight night main event caliber fighters would do.
LockDown- May 29, 2009 at 6:21 am
@karate is back

There is no way Lyoto X Shogun reproduces a fight like Silva X Leites. Both fighers (Lyoto and Shogun) fight for win. Specially Shogun, he barely keeps the distance. And Lyoto relies on counterstriking. It'll be one a hell of a fight but I admit I would like to see it maybe next year.
Johnny B- May 29, 2009 at 5:48 am
I honestly don't have a problem with this match-up. Shogun deserves a title shot just as much as Rampage. And Shogun probably has a better chance of winning if he can get back to his old form. Plus you set yourself up for an interesting follow up fight between the winner of Machida/Rua vs the winner of Jackson/Evans.
Fedor vs. Bas- May 29, 2009 at 5:48 am
This is awful because if Shogun is for real. . . he still needs one or two more fights (WINS) in the UFC before he is ready/deserves a title shot.

I love TUF, but stop taking Champs & #1 Contenders away from their fights for 9 months!!! Take two possible contenders, then have them fight for a chance to fight the current champs. (i.e. Hughes & Serra who then faught GSP)
Goog- May 29, 2009 at 5:31 am
Tito's the best wrestler Machida's fought, and let's count his takedowns. So sure... bum rush him, take a few karate lumps, get stuffed anyway for your effort. Repeat. Not saying Machida is immovable, but it's a lot easier sad than done, not to mention the guy hits you on the chin EVERY freakin' time. I'd be willing to give someone a $50 bill for every arm punch Machida lands.

And as for the accused come-lately "nutuggers"... Machida is getting his attention now for a couple good finishes, but it doesn't negate the fact that he's always been good. Anyone remember him swatting Franklin in the ring? It seems that MMA gravitates toward certain expectations these days. If Royce Gracie come in and landed a good shot and flurried for a TKO a few fights in a row, people would act cheated out of seeing him sub someone. Winning isn't enough, it has to be the People's Choice. Rampage wins a decision without a big slam or left hook, he gets accused of being off his game.

So I'm fully expecting the Machida bandwagon to continue to board passengers until he goes to a decision, at which point people will question if he's bored or less hungry now that he's champ. The crowds are as much a part of the whole MMA scene as the fighters themselves, because it's becoming more and more obvious that the matchups and fightpaths are being determined by what's in demand, not what's deserved.
Lonny- May 29, 2009 at 5:19 am
UFC stopped making sense long ago.... How about giving Lesnar a title shot after 1 win?!!

This is not as bad... if shogun wins, it sets up for a nice rematch with Rampage... or gives Rashad another shot at the title... at least a little bit of a story line either way.
Frank Mur- May 29, 2009 at 5:06 am
Casa de los Pan hit the nail on the head, that looks like the only way you'll beat Machida, however, you'd have to survive a flurry of severely accurate strikes to get to him, and not many of the fighters in the top five are hungry enough to try that., hence Casa's prediction that a newer fighter is going to do it. Fighters like Rashad and jackson are too built up on themselves and rely on the "Skills" they think they have to take this guy out and they'd end up wating for an opening but instead catch a foot to the noggin. Or in Rashads case (who was severely puffed up on his skills due to his record), a couple knuckle slaps to the "cock sucker".
Rashad was soo overreated,...who the hell didn't see that coming?
snd_dsgnr- May 29, 2009 at 4:41 am
Rampage absolutely without question deserves the first shot over Shogun, but if Jackson would rather fight Rashad then they really don't have much of a choice at the moment. Shogun's the best option they have under the circumstances.

That said, I continue to be amazed by the level of Shogun fanboyism that goes on at various MMA forums. He barely scraped out a win against Coleman, followed it up with a much better showing against a way past his prime Liddell, and everyone's ready to shout "2005 Shogun is back!!!" from the mountaintops? Really?

I get that there's a nostalgia factor involved because he was a terrific and exciting fighter in Pride, but come on. Wouldn't it be prudent to at least wait and see how he does against a top flight or up and coming fighter before declaring him "back"?