True, but I think it was a lack of desire to see an unpopular fighter advance quickly on the UFC's part that lead their decision to give him small name opponents.
Rashad Evans isn't popular and he got big fights
Beaten better competition? He's beaten Tito, BJ Penn, Rich Franklin, Stephan Bonner, Sokoudjo....I agree, most fighter would already have a title shot w/ those kind of wins. Aren't Penn, Franklin, and Bonner still under contract w/ UFC?
As for this fight, I do see Machida coming out on top. Although, I did HATE the extensive "running away" from Tito when he knew he had it in points. Backing up and countering like Bisping is one thing but backing up to run out the timer when you're ahead is another. I personally don't like Machida as a fighter but there's no disputing his talent and I do see him winning this one barely.
The Penn, Franklin, and Bonnar fights were outside of the UFC you don't get rewarded for your fights outside of the UFC.
Sokoudjou is really overrated.