Following a knockout win over Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4, Lyoto Machida was granted the next shot at the UFC light heavyweight title.
The former champion last fought for the belt in December 2011 when he was choked out by current titleholder Jon Jones at UFC 140 in Toronto.
Win, lose or draw on Saturday night, however, there was some question if Machida would even stick around the weight class long enough to compete for the belt at 205 pounds. When Machida hit the scales during Friday’s weigh-ins, he came in at only 201 pounds, well below the light heavyweight cut off.
While he did say after making weight that he may one day consider a move to middleweight, Machida assured everyone that his goal right now is to once again become the UFC light heavyweight champion of the world.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the door to middleweight it closed.
“I want this opportunity to fight at 205, but in the future who knows, maybe I can drop my weight to 185,” said Machida when speaking to Fuel TV.
While Machida has been handed the keys to the kingdom when it comes to the next shot at the 205-pound strap, the question of who he will fight remains open until after UFC 151.
At that card on Sept. 1 in Las Vegas, current champion Jon “Bones” Jones will defend his belt against former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson. Jones enters the fight as a sizable favorite for obvious reasons.
Jones won the title and has since defended it successfully on three occasions, including his submission victory over Machida.
Machida holds no ill will towards Jones because of the loss, but of course he’d love the chance to do it over again, hopefully this time with better results.
There’s no guarantee at this point that he’ll even face Jones, but if that fight does come to pass, has Machida already started to strategize what he could do in a rematch to walk away victorious this time?
“It’s very, very hard to say because Jon is a very elusive fighter, very unpredictable fighter; you can’t predict what he’s (going to do). I think I’d keep the same training, try to keep my distance and my timing, maybe have to train a little more wrestling to avoid his techniques from wrestling,” said Machida.
“Of course he has a weak point, but because Jon is a very elusive fighter, all the time he changes his style, sometimes he kicks, sometimes he punches, he’s very good with wrestling, but maybe I have to train more wrestling to avoid his takedown.”
Now it’s just a waiting game because Machida will first need to watch the upcoming UFC 151 fight card in Las Vegas to find out who he will challenge for the belt. Then he can start to game plan and put together a training camp to hopefully once again capture the UFC light heavyweight belt.