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Dana White: Lyoto Machida Earns No. 1 Contender Slot After UFC On FOX 4 Win

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Before UFC on FOX 4, UFC president Dana White announced that the winner of the Mauricio Rua vs. Brandon Vera main event would be next in the queue to fight for the division's champion. After receiving backlash, he revised his decision, saying the main card light-heavyweight with the most impressive performance would be next.

As it turns out, that change will end up making a huge difference in the life of Lyoto Machida, because after strong finishes by both Machida and Mauricio Rua in main card fights, White had a choice to make.

He ultimately chose "the Dragon."

White made his announcement on FOX, shortly after the main event, saying that Machida's win, which was far more one-sided, got him the shot. He also noted that Machida had been more competitive against current champion Jon Jones, fighting a close first round with him before losing by technical submission the second.

"What I can tell you is he wants it bad," White said in the event's post-fight press conference. "That’s very important to me is how bad a guy wants it, and he wants it bad."

Rua had also previously faced Jones, losing to him in March 2011 in the fight which saw Jones crowned as the champion.

Of course, it's no guarantee that Jones will be the man standing across from Machida when he cashes in his chip. First, Jones will have to defend his belt against former PRIDE two-division champion Dan Henderson in a fight that goes down on September 1.

Whichever man it is, Machida, who is 18-3 all-time, will be waiting.

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