Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida lost a very controversial decision to Phil Davis at UFC 163, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting the speculation around his next fight. Machida was rumored to be rematching Davis, then supposedly had a chance to face Nick Diaz, but that idea was deemed “dumb” by Dana White after last weekend’s UFC Fight Night 26.
The list of potential opponents doesn’t stop there, however, as Machida appeared on yesterday’s edition of “The MMA Hour” to discuss who he prefers to fight next. His choice is a popular one, stating that he would like to square off against the surging Vitor Belfort in Brazil:
"I would like to fight with him. I would like to show my technique against his technique and have a great show in Brazil. Everybody has your own reason to accept the fight. He's a big name in Brazil and around the world. I think he's a great opponent for me this time. It doesn't matter for me this time, the reason he doesn't accept this fight."
Nothing has been booked between Machida and Belfort, but there’s a ton of potential in making that matchup. It could possibly be one of the best fights for Brazilian fans, and could serve as a good time filler for Belfort. “The Phenom” has stated that he does not want to take another bout at Middleweight unless it’s for the title. Since that belt is tied up for the time being with the Anderson Silva-Chris Weidman rivalry, a match against Machida at Light Heavyweight could be the right move to make.
But that’s only if Belfort agrees to the bout, which may be no easy task. White has appeared to grow weary of Belfort’s tactics in recent weeks, and amidst much speculation, nothing has come even close to fruition.
However, that may not matter, as Machida has many other fights that he’s willing to sign up for. One of them could involve UFC Fight Night 26’s main event winner Chael Sonnen:
"Last Saturday I saw the fight, Shogun against Sonnen, and I saw a great opportunity to fight Sonnen too. Sonnen is a great name and he's a big name, I think I can beat him. He's talked bad about me back in the day."
“The Dragon” could be next on the list of Brazilian opponents for Sonnen, but "The American Gangster" been linked to a bout with longtime out-of-cage rival Wanderlei Silva. Either way, there are some very attractive bouts ready for Machida. Who is the best possible opponent for the elusive Karate stylist?