TORONTO - Just 24, UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones recently became the proud owner of a Bentley.
"God is good, man. Definitely," Jones said with a smile Wednesday when the subject of his US$190,000 Bentley Continental GT came up.
Former champion Lyoto (The Dragon) Machida drives a Toyota back home in Brazil.
"It's a regular car. There's nothing too special about it," he said through an interpreter.
Sporting contrasting styles as well as wheels, the two mixed martial arts stars are headed for a collision Dec. 10 at UFC 140 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
"This is a fun one, I like this fight stylistically," UFC president Dana White told a news conference to promote the card.
UFC 129 at the Rogers Centre in April drew a UFC-record gate ($11 million) and crowd (55,724). Not surprisingly given those numbers, White and Jones were both generous in their take on Toronto.
"This is without a doubt the strongest (MMA) market on the planet," said White.
Added Jones: "I really look at Canada as the mecca when it comes to our support base."
Jones (14-1) is perhaps the hottest fighter on the UFC's books, not to mention its youngest ever title-holder.
At six foot four, the former junior college wrestling champion has an 84.5-inch reach — the longest in UFC history at any weight class. Jones's wingspan makes him hard to attack.
Opponents have come at Jones at their peril. With an unpredictable arsenal of punches and kicks on his feet and a savage ground attack, Jones has sent more than a few fighters to hospital.
Machida, as calm as they come, is unfazed by the whirling dervish that awaits him in the cage.
"I guarantee that on Dec. 10 I'll be well-prepared and I can overcome his athleticism with my technique," the 33-year-old Machida said simply.
The six-foot-one Machida (17-2) is fast and elusive, coming from a unique family and fighting background.
His father Yoshizo Machida came to Brazil when he was 22 to test his karate skills. Just five foot six, he developed his own form of karate to combat bigger men. It is based on defence, harkening back to the days when warriors fought with swords and one hit could cause death.
Lyoto Machida darts in and out when he fights, attacking with punches and kicks then retreating. A black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he is also accomplished on the ground but it is his fluid striking attack that turns heads.
"I think distance is one thing I think Machida does a lot better than most people," said Toronto welterweight Claude Patrick. "He's in and out very quickly, covering a lot of ground quick ... While Jones has that natural reach, I think Machida covers that ground pretty well."
The only men to have beaten the Brazilian are Mauricio (Shogun) Rua, who took away his title in their second fight, and former champion Quinton (Rampage) Jackson, who won a close decision.
Machida rebounded from those losses with a devastating knockout of Randy (The Natural) Couture at UFC 129.
He faked a left leg kick then lashed out with his right, connecting flush with Couture's face. The kick felled the Hall of Famer, removing a tooth in the process.
Most fighter have found it hard to hunt Machida down in the cage.
"Anyone can be solved by a solid punch on the chin," said Patrick, "which was the solution to Machida when he lost.
"Nobody's really exposed him so to speak," he added. "He's still very elusive, great footwork, great striking. But if you get hit, you get hit. Same thing could happen to anybody that steps into the Octagon.
"I think it'll be a very interesting fight and footwork will probably be the determining factor."
Jones, who is coming off a successful title defence against Jackson, said he will deal with Machida's style by "just really being myself."
"I'm very aware of the fact that he's never competed against anyone like me, and I've never competed against anyone like him," said Jones, who spends hours watching his opponents. "So the name of the game is really just to study — and figure out tendencies and take it from there."
Bookmakers have already established Jones at a 4-1 or 5-1 favourite to beat Machida.
Jones was originally slated to face another former champion in Rashad Evans. But Evans is still recovering from a hand injury and had to step aside.
Tickets for the Toronto card go on sale later this week.