Light heavyweight Lyoto Machida said he will move to middleweight if the UFC gives him "a big fight."
Lyoto Machida has a pretty full dance card these days.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion said he is ready to move down to middleweight to consummate his rivalry with Chael Sonnen or Vitor Belfort. And he still wants that rematch with Phil Davis at light heavyweight.
"I watched the fight with Shogun and Sonnen, and I saw a great opportunity to fight against Sonnen," Machida said Monday on The MMA Hour broadcast with host Ariel Helwani. "Because Sonnen is a great man and he's a big name...and I think I can beat him. And he talked bad about me back in the day."
The interview came as the normally headline-allergic Machida (19-4) found himself in the middle of a couple of different MMA discourse threads. Earlier in August, he indicated he'd be willing to drop down to middleweight for the right fight. Machida confirmed that willingness on Monday, saying he's open to fighting in both divisions, and just wants "a big fight."
Armchair matchmaking reached a new level shortly after Saturday's UFC Fight Night 26, in which Chael Sonnen submitted Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in a light heavyweight bout and then said he'd return to his normal middleweight division. Machida, who had previously been linked to a middleweight matchup with Vitor Belfort, immediately tweeted his hat into the Sonnen ring.
Lyoto Machida (@lyotomachidafw) August 18, 2013
Machida said Monday he'd be open to either fight, though he did add a caveat.
"If this fight is going to happen in Brazil, I'd prefer to fight against Vitor Belfort," Machida said. "But if the fight is going to happen anywhere else in the world, I will fight against whoever."
Machida also said that Belfort, who was critical of Machida for declining to fight Jon Jones on short notice to salvage UFC 151 last summer, was himself avoiding a confrontation, and was therefor acting hypocritically.
Who do you think Lyoto Machida should face next?
"I challenged [Belfort] to fight this fight, and he said no," Machida said. "I don't know why, but he has to follow what he said."
Belfort has also called for a fight with Sonnen. Sonnen himself seems to prefer Wanderlei Silva, but has said he is willing to fight whomever the UFC deems fit.
To add yet another twist to the mix, Machida lost a very controversial decision to Phil Davis earlier this month at UFC 163, and said Monday he is still not over it.
"[The decision] was not convincing for me," Machida said. "I would like another fight."