Mousasi, in a message to MMAWeekly.com, said he wants next dibs on Machida, which he believes would earn him a shot at the middleweight title.
“I want to make an impact in the middleweight division and to fight the best contenders out there,” said Mousasi. “I respect Machida and would like to test my stand-up against him. I believe a fight between us would determine the No.1 contender in the middleweight division. ‘The Dream Catcher vs. The Dragon’ sounds good to me. Let’s do it.”
Machida made quick work of Munoz in the main event at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England, getting the knockout victory in the first round. The win put many within the UFC on notice that Machida would be a strong contender at 185 pounds. Those who took notice of Machida’s efforts included his boss.
“Welcome to 185 @lyotomachidafw,” tweeted UFC president Dana White.
Mousasi made his promotional debut in the UFC last April in a 205-pound fight at UFC on Fuel TV 9. The fight was originally slotted to be against highly ranked light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson, but a pre-fight cut forced Mousasi’s opponent to pull out of the match-up. The Dutch-Armenian fighter instead went on to earn a one-sided win over Ilir Latifi, one of Gustafsson’s training partners.
In May, Mousasi told MMAWeekly.com that he went into his April bout with a knee injury. Following the fight, he began his recovery work and made statements about his intention to move down to 185 pounds. With recovery going smoothly, the fighter targets the start of his UFC middleweight run for February 2014, which lands his return at either UFC 169 in Newark, N.J., or UFC 170 in Las Vegas.
Nima Safapour, Mousasi’s manager, said that the recent influx of new talent at middleweight provides a lot of interesting options, but a fight with Machida is all he and his fighter want at the moment.
“The middleweight division has been revitalized recently with the new faces that have entered that division from Strikeforce and guys like Lyoto Machida that have come down from light heavyweight,” Safapour told MMAWeekly.com. “We believe the fight (with Machida) would determine the No.1 contender.”
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