It would be an unknown quantity for all his years in the Octagon, but now would definitely be the right time for UFC former light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida to make the move to the 185-pound middleweight division.
The UFC had been hoping to put together a clash between Machida and Vitor Belfort as the co-main event of UFC 167 in November, but after Belfort reportedly nixed the idea, UFC President Dana White has offered the fight to Nick Diaz for his return. It’s an interesting fight to make at middleweight as Machida will have to make a 20-pound weight cut, while Diaz would be moving up to the 185 pound division from welterweight.
While the fight could play out awkwardly as far as styles go, there’s no denying that it would be a fight that fans would be interested in because of the name value. Most importantly, it would seem a good way for Machida to begin the title hunt in a new division because attractive fight prospects at 205 pounds don’t seem to be there at the moment.
Machida is coming off a controversial decision loss to Phil Davis at UFC 163 in Brazil, and it seems as though his quest for a rematch against current light heavyweight boss Jon Jones is going nowhere. Jones choked out “The Dragon” in the second round of their title affair at UFC 140 and clearly has bigger fights in mind than facing Machida again.
With other names such as Glover Teixeira and Daniel Cormier out there, Machida finds himself well down the ladder, especially after the ‘loss’ to Davis. Jones has his own assignment next month at UFC 165 in Toronto against challenger Alexander Gustafsson. Machida asked for an immediate Davis rematch, but “Mr.Wonderful” wants no part of that; so Machida, who’s just 3-4 in his last seven fights, is pretty dry on options at the 205 division.
One that would come to mind would be a trilogy fight versus Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua if he gets by Chael Sonnen at this weekend’s UFC Fight Night on Fox Sports 1. Other than that, it seems to be pretty slim pickings.
It’s clear that the 185-pound class would provide a number of solid options besides the possible Diaz clash. With training partner Anderson Silva no longer the top gun in the division, there could be a possible title fight with Chris Weidman, if Weidman were to defeat Silva again in their December rematch. There would also be potential fresh challenges against the likes of noteworthy names such as Sonnen, who is moving back down to 185 after the Rua fight, or even Michael Bisping.
Machida’s pedigree would instantly make him a top-five contender within the middleweight landscape. The weight loss might be a little risky at this stage of his career, but it might be worth it in the hopes of finding new challenges moving forward to rejuvenate his career.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports