Who Might Be Next For "The Dragon"?

Published on October 27th, 2013 3:38 pm EST

Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida made his Middleweight debut at UFC Fight Night 30 last evening, and he certainly didn't disappoint.

It has often been thought that Middleweight was the natural division for Machida, as he never had to cut weight to make the 205 pound Light Heavyweight limit. This resulted in Machida being significantly smaller than opponents such as Jon "Bones" Jones, and this certainly hurt Machida in certain fights.

At Middleweight, however, Machida will be on even terms when it comes to his strength and size, and he will maintain his trademark quickness. This is obviously bad news for any Middleweight foe that Machida may be matched up against in the coming months.

Machida fought Mark Munoz last night in Manchester, England, United Kingdom, and the fight lasted less than one round. Machida landed a head kick on his training partner and friend, and Munoz was knocked out when he hit the ground. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure if Munoz was able to last a single blow on Machida over the course of the three minute fight.

So - Machida looked great at Middleweight. Given his history with the UFC (after all, Machida IS the former Light Heavyweight champion), he shouldn't have to wait too long to get a shot at the Middleweight title. I would assume that Machida will need one more win in order to gain a shot at the Middleweight title (assuming, of course, that Anderson Silva doesn't win the title from Chris Weidman, as Machida and Silva have vowed never to fight each other), so that leaves the question of who might be next for Machida.

Michael Bisping was originally supposed to fight Mark Munoz, but Bisping was forced to pull out of the fight due to an eye injury. A Bisping/Machida fight would be a compelling battle, but it would contain plenty of star power.

Other possibilities for Lyoto Machida may include Gegard Mousasi or Vitor Belfort, assuming that Belfort beats Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32.

Of course, there is always the possibility that the UFC decides to immediately grant Machida a title shot, assuming that Chris Weidman is able to retain his title against Anderson "The Spider" Silva at UFC 168 in December.

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There are all sorts of possibilities for Lyoto Machida at Middleweight, and that is good news for fans of "The Dragon".


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