Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida has long been rumored to make the drop down to Middleweight. That speculation has finally proven true, as Machida will cut to 185 to fight Tim Kennedy at Fight For The Troops 3 on November 6th. Dana White appeared on Fox Sports 1’s “Fox Sports Live” to announce the bout, and UFC On Fox tweeted the news:
“Lyoto Machida is moving down to middleweight to face Tim Kennedy in the next Fight For The Troops on @FOXSports1 on 11/6″—Dana White
— UFCONFOX (@UFCONFOX) August 22, 2013
Rumors had Machida looking to get matched up with Chael Sonnen or Vitor Belfort, but now an entirely different bout has come to fruition. It might be the shot in the arm that Machida needs, as he recently dropped a highly controversial decision to Phil Davis in UFC 163’s co-main event. Prior to that, he won a debatable split decision over former Pride champion Dan Henderson at UFC 157.
A new weight class may provide him the opportunity to win fights more decisively, and could give him a size and strength advantage, something he rarely has at Light Heavyweight.
His opponent Kennedy, a former U.S. Special Forces sniper and Strikeforce stalwart, had also been rumored to face off against Belfort. However, when Belfort turned the bout down, Kennedy was left to look for another top-level opponent. He’s sought out a marquee opponent since his one-sided beating of Roger Gracie at UFC 162, and now he’ll face what is most likely the toughest challenge of his career. He’ll be an emotional favorite in front of his military brethren come November.
Is this the right move for Machida? More on UFC Fight For The Troops 3 as it develops.