At UFC 224, Lyoto Machida authored one of the most dazzling victories of spectacular career, zapping the retiring Vitor Belfort with a front kick to the face. With this win, the former UFC light heavyweight champion and long-time middleweight contender moved onto a two-fight win-streak, and he’s hoping a few more victories will carry him to a middleweight title shot.
First, of course, Machida is hoping to battle fellow veteran Michael Bisping, who he called out after UFC 224.
“I don’t intend to take a break right now,” Machida said in a recent interview with Bloody Elbow. “I want to fight once or twice more this year. I really feel like fighting and I want to be a champion again. I don’t see the Bisping fight as a farewell. I’m not thinking about that right now. I showed I’m doing well and I want to climb the ranks so I can secure another title shot. I don’t think about changing weight classes [because Bisping hopes to return to the light heavyweight division] at the moment. I believe it’s a fight many people want to see, so we can make some adjustments so it can better suit both athletes.”
If Machida gets his desired fight with Bisping, and he finds his way to victory against the Brit, he’ll then set his sights on the winner of middleweight champ Robert Whittaker and challenger Yoel Romero’s upcoming title fight, which headlines UFC 225 on June 9. Whittaker, who is a fellow karate specialist, seems to be of particular interest to Machida.
“Robert has been doing a great job, but I don’t plan to fight against his style [specifically],” Machida said. “I believe that, in MMA, we just have a martial art. It’s not my karate against his or jiu-jitsu against karate. My goal is to go after whoever has the belt. If he has the belt, of course I’m interested in fighting him.”
Do you think Lyoto Machida can fight his way to the middleweight belt?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/24/2018.