Lyoto Machida has gone from almost irrelevant to top five in the Middleweight division overnight. His impressive knockout of Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night: Manchester reminded fans that The Dragon is still here, and seemingly at home in his new weight class.
In the aftermath of such a big win for Machida, names like Michael Bisping or Vitor Belfort were an obvious suggestion as a next opponent. It seems that The Dragon, Via MMA Fighting, is very interested in a fight with The Phenom:
"Vitor Belfort is the best option for me right now," said Machida. "I want to fight him. It would be the best fight for me right now because he’s well ranked in the middleweight division. No hard feelings, I’m thinking what’s best for my career and where I can get with a win. Even if Vitor loses to Dan Henderson, I’d want to fight him in our weight class."
I have to say that I agree with Machida; a fight with Belfort makes sense for so many reasons at Middlweight. First and foremost I think it would be an awesome scrap, both guys are former champs and the winner would surely be next in line for Silva/Weidman. Machida continued:
"I was No. 1 in the light heavyweight division for a long time, fought for the title several times, but moving down to 185 was the best option for me right now. I’ve fought all the best at 205 so this is like a new career for me."
"I was worried with my weight cut but I felt stronger and quicker at 185," he said. "I felt great. All the work was well executed so I could lose weight without any trouble. I had the cut 3.3 pounds on the day before the weight-ins, so I did a yoga class with Fabiano Gomes and lost it easily. I lost 3.3 in a yoga class."
Machida certainly looked renewed in his demolition of the Filipino Wrecking Machine, though the fight was short, we saw a reinvigorated Machida with a new sense of urgency. His timing was spot on; he didn’t run but timed his man and executed his gameplan to perfection.
On to the present day, and it looks like Machida has a very strong argument for a fight with Belfort. One thing is with Belfort, he has had a lot of say in his recent opponents and could easily shoot down a fight with Machida if he wanted.
I’ll keep you posted as the situation develops, but in the meanwhile: who wins in a Dragon vs. Phenom Middleweight clash?