With a likely shot at middleweight gold hanging in the balance, both men came to do their thing with Machida coming out on top in a tactical delight between two seasoned veterans on Saturday.
What We'll Remember About This Fight
How it showed the world that the 185-pound edition of Machida is very much for real. Everyone kind of suspected it even before he ever made the weight and his demolition of Mark Munoz did nothing to slow the hype, but beating Mousasi really drove it home.
It's amazing that he's still doing it after so many years in the UFC and with his 36th birthday coming up this year, but he is. He might be better than ever.
What We Learned About Lyoto Machida
That he should be next in line for a crack at middleweight gold.
Excluding a highly dubious decision loss to Phil Davis last year, Machida hasn't lost since 2011, and his performances at middleweight have been both explosive and engaging. He's fighting a little more aggressive since the Davis loss, and it's providing more entertaining bouts.
He should be rewarded for that with a chance at the title.
What We Learned About Gegard Mousasi
That he has a ways to go before he's going to beat the elite of the elite in the UFC.
He's highly skilled in all facets of the game, but inactivity and questionable training habits have plagued the 28-year-old and it's a mighty leap to expect him to jump into the fray against former champions and have success.
With his talent and experience the sky is the limit, especially considering that he's still a ways off from 30, but there's work to be done.
What's Next for Machida
Set him up with the winner of Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort in May. Even if he doesn't want to wait around that long there aren't many choices out there for him, so it works for everyone to make him the next contender.
What's Next for Mousasi
If he stays at 185, it would seem logical to pair him with Francis Carmont, UFC Fight Night 36's other high-profile loser. He's pretty open to fights at 185 or 205, though, so a scrap with the winner of next month's Dan Henderson/Shogun Rua rematch might be interesting as a light heavyweight offering.
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