MANILA, Philippines - Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida is not a fan of reigning champion Jon "Bones" Jones, despite the latter's meteoric rise in the sport.
Jones became the light heavyweight champion by defeating Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, who defeated Machida to win the title. The 24-year-old Jones has often been described as a once-in-a-generation talent and the future of the UFC.
"Jon Jones is a star," said UFC commentator Joe Rogan in an interview with UFC.com.
But Machida is not impressed with the undefeated Jones.
"Jones' rise doesn't impress me," Machida said. "I had my moments in the UFC, too."
Both Machida and Jones have been noted for their unique fighting styles. Jones utilizes unorthodox striking, including spinning back elbows, to confuse opponents. He has also shown an improved submission game, and in his first title defense, Jones became the first fighter to submit former champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
But Machida is also a unique fighter, with a style based on karate and Brazilian jiu-jutsu. His precise counter-striking has confused many of his opponents. Machida won the light heavyweight belt with a 2nd round knockout of Rashad Evans at UFC 98.
"His footwork and his ability to move in and out, almost like a fencer, is really like no one else in the entire division," Rogan said of Machida.
"When I lost the belt, it was difficult for me, but I learned a lot. Now I feel more prepared to fight for the belt," Machida said. "I've learned to work better under pressure."
Machida is determined to give Jones a hard fight when they meet at UFC 140, saying, "This is the toughest division in the UFC. Every fight is a test."
"I want to feel it again, that belt around my waist," he said.