by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Just when Mike Swick was pointing out the pitfalls of fighting one of his American Kickboxing Academy teammates, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Lyoto Machida’s manager discussed how his clients could potentially wind up across each other in the Octagon.
“(Rogerio) wants what every other light heavyweight wants in that category and that’s he wants a belt,” said Ed Soares. “Whatever fight is going to be, put him up a little bit closer towards that title shot, that’s where he wants to be, that’s who he wants to fight.”
It turns out Nogueira is expected to face former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 113 on May 8 in Montreal. A win over a former champion surely would “put him a little bit closer towards that title shot.”
Despite Nogueira and Machida being Black House teammates, Soares believes a battle over the belt would be enough for the two to face each other, not out of any disparagement, but out of respect.
“They both want the same thing. Lyoto wants to keep his belt and Rogerio wants it. We’ll cross that bridge when it comes, but I think when push comes to shove if that fight was to come up, I think they’d fight each other. They’re friends they respect each other very much,” Soares told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
“At the end of the day, they both want one thing. If the only way is that they’re going to have to fight, like I said, we’ll cross that bridge when it comes, but I think it could happen.”
Nogueira, of course, first has to get past Griffin, which is no small task.
Machida also has his own hurdle to cross, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Machida and Rua fought once before, at UFC 104 last October, with the champ earning a controversial unanimous decision. Many felt that Rua should have gotten the nod, and UFC president Dana White granted an immediate rematch.
There are other contenders in the mix as well; fighters like Rashad Evans, Quinton Jackson, Jon Jones, and even another teammate, middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
But if each wins his next bout, another section of the bridge between Machida and Nogueira will be in place.