Vitor Belfort's UFC 152 performance against Jon Jones has given Lyoto Machida a newfound confidence.
Few men have ever made Jones look human.
At only 25 years of age, Jones has dominated some of the greatest legends to ever put on a pair of four ounce gloves. The best minds in the sport have struggled to find any holes in his game.
Naturally, he is blessed with one of the most advantageous physiques in MMA history. As a gifted athlete and dedicated student, his world class skill set spans to every area of combat.
In life, no human being is perfect, but as far as fighting is concerned, Jones' performances have caused many to second guess the very nature of that belief.
Sometimes, it takes an old lion like Belfort to come out of his den and bring the world back to reality.
Jones may be the greatest talent MMA has ever seen, but at the beginning of each day he puts on his pants like everyone else.
It was the old lion vs. the new lion at UFC 152, and in the opening moments of the first round, the old lion nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the year.
After being taken down, Belfort quickly transitioned to an arm-bar. Fans all over the world held their breath as the unthinkable was seconds from happening. Jones' arm had reached the point of severe hyperextension and Belfort was seconds away from being crowned the new UFC light heavyweight champion.
As a potential No. 1 contender, Machida watched the fight with invested interest. Even though he has great respect for Belfort's skills, he was shocked and surprised at how the fight nearly ended.
"Vitor surprised me. He fought well. In the arm-bar, he could have ended the fight right there,"
said Machida during an appearance on TV Liberal's "Globo Sport."
Despite Belfort's best efforts, he wasn't able to thwart the heart and determination of the young champion. Jones escaped the submission hold and dominated the rest of the fight with an injured arm.
Belfort's hand wasn't raised at the end of the fight, but Machida gained confidence from his performance.
"Jon Jones has big holes in his game, he is not this guy that everyone looks and feels unbeatable," Machida said. "He is aloof, seeks to evolve his weaknesses, but leaves gaps in the ground, he's no black belt. He's a dangerous guy, and you have to stay alert."