Right now, all signs point toward a fight between Lyoto Machida and Alexander Gustafsson to identify a clear top contender in the UFC light heavyweight division.
Machida, speaking in an interview that aired Tuesday on UFC Tonight, said the match made sense.
"Now I think that it's a good idea to put Gustafsson against me," Machida said. "He's the No. 2 contender, I'm the No. 1 contender. Let's go out and see what will happen."
On Monday, Gustafsson also gave his stamp of approval to the match. The UFC, which has made no official announcement either way, had previously indicated that Machida would receive the next shot at light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
However, the equation grew more complicated Saturday at UFC 159 when Jones suffered a ghastly toe injury that could leave him on the shelf until much later in the year. Jones received an indefinite medical suspension following the fight, and no timetable has been announced for his return.
In the meantime, a fight between Machida and Gustafsson would certainly bring clarity to the contender picture.
Gustafsson, 26, is 15-1 overall and 7-1 in the UFC. He is currently riding a six-fight win streak. Gustafsson was scheduled to headline the UFC on Fuel TV 9 card in his native Sweden, but he had to pull out of the fight less than a week before the April 6 event date because of a cut he suffered during training.
Gustafsson was replaced by fellow Swede Ilir Latifi, who lost to Gegard Mousasi by unanimous decision. Gustafsson and Jones have never fought.
Machida, 34, is 19-3 overall and 11-3 in the UFC. He has won three of his last four. However, that one loss was a 2011 defeat to Jones, who submitted Machida in the second round.
Jones, 26, was his usual dominant self at UFC 159 Saturday night, taking a first-round TKO victory over Chael Sonnen. However, a freak injury occurred in the fight's closing moments. When Jones was pushing off the mat, his left big toe fractured in gruesome fashion, exposing the bone in the process.
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