by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com (reporting by Ken Pishna)
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has in principle accepted a bout with new light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, MMAWeekly.com has learned from sources close to negotiations.
Though a concrete date for the fight could not be confirmed, and Machida’s management could not be reached at the time of this writing, sources say it would likely take place in October or November.
In a conference call Thursday announcing the season 10 coaches of “The Ultimate Fighter,” UFC president Dana White said he was in the process of finding Machida’s next opponent, once thought to be former champion Quinton Jackson. Jackson took one of the coaching slots for the reality show, while recently deposed champ Rashad Evans took the other. The two will likely face each other at the conclusion of the show, expected for UFC 103 on Sept. 26.
“(Machida) will fight,” said White. “We’re working on it right now. As soon as it’s signed, I’ll announce it… which I’m hoping will be today or tomorrow.”
Asked whether Machida would headline UFC 103, White responded, “that’s not true.”
At the post-fight press conference for UFC 98, Machida said he would take a short vacation and return to training. Manager Ed Soares earlier told MMAWeekly that the new champion would like another fight before the end of 2009.
Rua is coming off a devastating stoppage of former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell at UFC 97. The performance was a stark turnaround from two lackluster performances at UFC 76 and UFC 93, which “Shogun” attributed to unfocused training camps and a persistent knee injury.
Rua recently praised Machida’s performance and expressed his desire to face the undefeated fighter in an interview with tatame.com.
“Lyoto was phenomenal, beat Rashad and proved he’s the best of this division,” said Rua. “I’d love to (fight him), he’s a top guy. I wanna fight the best.”