On no fewer than two occasions in the past, Lyoto Machida has been stated to be next in line for a UFC light heavyweight title rematch with Jon Jones and the organisation even officially rates him as the number one contender.
However, it is Alexander Gustafsson that will challenge Jones for the gold at UFC 165, meaning that Machida must continue to wait for the chance of redemption after initially losing the belt back in 2011.
Every challenger should realistically be entitled to a rematch clause and Machida has shown no ill effects of his Jones defeat by winning both of his UFC bouts since, knocking out Ryan Bader and then earning a split decision over Dan Henderson.
His next battle to continue to knock down the door for a rematch comes at UFC 163, where he is the 2/7 favourite to defeat Phil Davis.
Davis has been fighting non-ranked opponents since losing a title eliminator to Rashad Evans early last year by unanimous decision, but this remains the only blip on his UFC resume.
Technically, the pressure is on him as much as Machida as a defeat for Davis would leave him with a mountain to climb to get back into the title reckoning.
Stylistically the pair are very similar in that they tend to fight on the back foot in their stand-up strategies and with Machida arguably more in need of the success given that he may be on his last run at the age of 35, he may be the one forced into trying to move forward to make something happen.
The key for Davis is whether he is able to make good use of his superior wrestling and following the strategy of Jones in grappling as much as possible could be potent.
Davis is rightfully the underdog at 5/2, but by no means has he been thrown into the lion’s den here as feed for Machida ahead of a probable second clash with Jones.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.