Lyoto Machida sent shockwaves through the UFC middleweight division when he knocked out Mark Munoz with an emphatic first round headkick at last night’s UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England.
The statement win opened up litany of avenues for “The Dragon” to take at 185-pounds, and already top-level fighters are calling his name. After last night’s bout, former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi tweeted to various media outlets that he is looking to make an impact at MW and wants to fight Machida:
Mousasi was last seen defeating late fill-in Ilir Latifi at UFC on Fuel TV 6 after Alexander Gustafsson was unfortunately pulled from their bout due to a cut. Mousasi has been on the shelf since April after undergoing surgery on his knee. He’s long been rumored to make the move down to 185-pounds; there’s no better time than now.
With former UFC light heavyweight champion Machida set to take the division by storm, a bout with Mousasi could deliver an exciting fight. Mousasi has a well-rounded game that is centered on his top-shelf kickboxing, but would he be able to withstand the multitude of strikes from “The Dragon?” Mousasi may have a slight edge when it comes to submissions.
Then again, we may never get to witness this bout, or at least not for a while. After UFN 30, UFC President Dana White spoke up about the fight he wants to see Machida in next:
"I think, and I'm just talking here as a fan, not as a promoter, I think a lot of people want to see him and Vitor Belfort. That would be a fun fight. Vitor's got to win down in Brazil. And who knows, (Machida) could fight someone else before that. But I'm just saying, as a fan, and speaking for many fans, that's the fight they want to see. At least that's what everyone was screaming at me on the way out of the arena tonight." - via MMA Junkie
Indeed that is a great match to make. The speed and power of both Machida and “The Phenom” could turn out to be one of the finest battles of strikers the UFC has ever seen. Belfort is facing Dan Henderson at light heavyweight in the main event of November 9’s UFC Fight Night 31 in Brazil; should a Belfort loss have any effect on the prospect of fighting Machida at middleweight?
Henderson hasn’t been at the top of his game lately; he is also 43 years old. But he’ll always have that H-bomb in his pocket. It’ll be tough to derail the freight train that Belfort has become this year.
Regardless, Machida has two very interesting matchups in Belfort and Mousasi on the table. He sustained no damage in beating Munoz so he’ll likely be back in the cage soon. Who would you like to see “The Dragon” face off with next?