Lyoto Machida now top contender

Updated: August 6, 2012, 12:05 PM ET
By Franklin McNeil | ESPN.com

Former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida earned a shot at regaining the title Saturday night with a second-round knockout of Ryan Bader in Los Angeles, UFC president Dana White said.

Machida will face either current 205-pound titleholder Jon Jones or Dan Henderson. Those two meet Sept. 1 at UFC 151 in Las Vegas.

White chose Machida over Mauricio Rua, who knocked out Brandon Vera in the fourth round of their UFC on Fox 4 main-event fight.

[+] EnlargeLyoto Machida
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireAfter dispatching Ryan Bader, right, Lyoto Machida earned the top contender honor and will face either Jon Jones or Dan Henderson.

Before the event at Staples Center, White stated that the most-impressive winner of the two main bouts would become the division's top contender. And White determined that Machida had earned the honor.

"I think Lyoto Machida looked the most impressive tonight," White said on Fox. "Lyoto Machida right now seems to have this fire in him. He wants it; he wants that title back.

"He wants that shot at Jon Jones. Everything I see in this guy's performance, in the way he acts and the things that he says shows me that he wants a shot.

"And Lyoto you're going to get it."

The win over Bader was just the second in five fights for Machida (18-3). It also allowed Machida to rebound from a second-round submission loss to Jones on Dec. 10, 2011.

Machida claimed the 205-pouind belt in May 2009 when he knocked out Rashad Evans in the second round. But he would relinquish the title to Rua (21-6) in a rematch on May 8, 2010.

Rua, who lost a unanimous decision to Machida on Oct. 24, 2009, won the rematch by first-round knockout. He would lose the title to Jones on March 19, 2011, by third-round TKO.

Jones has successfully defended the belt three times.

ALSO SEE