For the first time in over four years, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion and longtime karate master, Lyoto Machida, is the winner of back-to-back fights.
While those victories did not come over combatants currently ranked in the top 15, getting back into the win column has restored the confidence of “The Dragon,” who suffered three-straight losses from 2015-17 and served an 18-month drug test suspension.
Now it’s time to start thinking about title shots, as Machida (24-8) turns 40 at the end of the month and doesn’t have the luxury of waiting around for the division to sort itself out, which is why the Brazilian is hoping for a busy 2018.
From his conversation with Bloody Elbow:
“I don’t intend to take a break, right now. I want to fight once or twice more this year. I really feel like fighting and I want to be a champion again. I don’t see the Bisping fight as a farewell. I’m not thinking about that, right now. I showed I’m doing well and I want to climb the ranks so I can secure another title shot. Robert (Whittaker) has been doing a great job, but I don’t plan to fight against his style. I believe that, in MMA, we just have a martial art. It’s not my karate against his or jiu-jitsu against karate. My goal is to go after whoever has the belt. If he has the belt, of course I’m interested in fighting him.”
Get in line.
Machida has been linked to a potential farewell fight against the soon-to-be-departing Michael Bisping; however, “The Count” has instead opted for heavier pastures at 205 pounds — assuming he returns at all.
While the idea of fighting the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero is preposterous, there are certainly a couple of fights that can get him close to his goal. Chris Weidman is ranked No. 3 — opposed to No. 9 for Machida — and a victory over the “All American” would also avenge this loss.
Who wants it?