Lyoto Machida's wish to get the next shot at the middleweight title may still come true, but he's been moved to the "wait-and-see" plan for the time being.
The former light heavyweight champion campaigned to become next in line for a championship opportunity in the lead up to his bout with Gegard Mousasi at Fight Night 36. After picking up the unanimous decision victory over the former Strikeforce champion, "The Dragon" once again publicly asked the UFC for a title opportunity in his next outing.
While that certainly seems to be an option on the table, the UFC is going to wait to see how things play out between champion Chris Weidman and No. 1 contender Vitor Belfort. The two top middleweights will step into the Octagon to settle their business at UFC 173, which is set to take place on May 24 in Las Vegas.
The topic of Machida's place in the title picture was addressed by the promotion following Saturday night's card in Jaragua do Sul. Brazilian UFC official Grace Tourinho told MMAjunkie everything is on hold for the time being and a decision will be made following the upcoming middleweight title bout between Weidman and Belfort.
“In reality, we still have a fight that has to be done, so we need to wait for that fight to happen and then I’m sure everyone will get their chances.”
The bout between the Ray Longo-trained fighter and "The Phenom" is still several months away, and the time frame could prove to be beneficial for the Brazilian karate master. Following his victory over Mousasi in the main event on Saturday night, the 35-year-old told the media in attendance at the post-fight press conference that he had injured his foot during the fight. The Team Black House fighter wasn't certain of the extent of the injury at that time but hoped to find out more in the coming days.
“[My foot] is slightly swollen; it’s difficult to step. I don’t know if I, in fact, broke my foot or not. I have to get an X-ray, but I’m trying to protect it as best as possible, putting a lot of ice on it. I have a boot on, but it’s hurting me.”
With his win at Fight Night 36, Machida has been successful in both of his showings in the middleweight division. His debut in the weight class resulted in a first-round knockout over Mark Munoz last October in Manchester, and his performance on Saturday earned him a lopsided unanimous decision victory over a very game Mousasi. He has looked impressive in both showings and has positioned himself as a major player in the hunt for the next title shot.
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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