Lyoto Machida “next” in Middleweight title pecking order…for now

Posted: February 6, 2014 in Latest news
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Lyoto-MachidaChris Weidman will certainly have his hands full with Vitor Belfort in his first title defense of 2014, but there’s already some jockeying for position in the middleweight division to see who’s next. Next week’s FS1 headliner could help answer that question.

Dana White stopped short of making a proclamation, but he did say it’s “possible” that Lyoto Machida could earn the next title shot if he defeats Gegard Mousasi.

“If Machida wins, he could possibly be next in line for a title shot.”

That’s far from an official statement, but it gives “the Dragon” a leg up on the rest of the contenders for now.

White went on to give a synopsis of the middleweight class and even heaped praise on the division. “You’ve got Vitor Belfort next, you have ‘Jacare’ Souza, you have Lyoto Machida, and the list goes on and on of all these nasty, nasty guys at 185 pounds. And let’s not forget, Anderson Silva could be back in a year, and he’s still the No. 1-ranked (contender) in the world. So that division has never been more exciting.”

Machida makes sense. A win over Mousasi would be his second at 185—he also defeated mark Munoz. His standing as former light heavyweight champ gives him plenty of credibility to “jump the line” so to speak. The problem is the wait. Machida fights next week, while Weidman vs. Belfort won’t happen until the end of May. That’s quite a layoff for Machida, especially is he escapes unharmed.

Also on the card next week—and breathing down Machida’s neck—is Jacare. His bout with Francis Carmont could also play into things. If Souza—who’s been as hot as any fighter in the world—goes out and destroys Carmont, it’s bound to leave an impression on White.

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