Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida was one of the principal players in Thursday's merry go round of possible opponents for current champion Jon Jones, which began with Dan Henderson and then circled through Chael Sonnen and Machida before ending up with Vitor Belfort overnight.
Machida, through a statement issued Friday afternoon by his Black House management team, explained his reasoning for not taking the short notice bout with Jones on September 22 in Toronto, noting that four weeks would not be enough time to prepare. And while he expressed a desire to face Jones at UFC 153 in Brazil this October, the champion has already moved on and will meet Belfort in the main event of UFC 152.
"I want to serve the UFC and recapture the belt," said Machida. "I always respect my opponent. For those reasons, I must prepare myself in the manner I believe in."