So, ‘The Machida Era’ has come to an abrupt end at the hands of Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua at UFC 113. It had to happen eventually, but perhaps it came earlier than many had anticipated just 11 months ago after watching him demolish Rashad Evans at UFC 98 to claim the light-heavyweight title.

Some may look to dismiss the fighter now that he’s been defeated, but while some the mystique surrounding him and his unorthadox Karate methods may have dissolved, he is still easily one of the most talented fighters at 205lbs and seems likely to still have a major part to play in the upper reaches of the division.

So what’s next for the former champion on his journey back to the top?

First up he’ll need to heal from his knockout loss and the injuries he sustained in the fight. According to his manager Ed Soares, Machida has a hairline fracture of his orbital bone which caused his eye to swell up dramatically in the aftermath of the fight.

It’s not clear whether he will need surgery or not just yet but Soares told mmajunkie.com that he believes he will be out for at least two or three months before he can begin full contact training again.

After that Soares has suggested that the various members of the Black House team, which includes such MMA illuminaries as Anderson Silva, the Nogueira brothers, Jose Aldo and Junior Dos Santos to name but a few, are planning to train together more often to improve their skills, something that can only help Machida improve.

Who will he fight next?

At this moment in time the UFC’s light-heavyweight division is stacked, which means there’s a lot of quality fights they could put together involving the former champion. Much depends on how long it takes for his injuries to heal, but a few fighters stand-out as things stand.

Forrest Griffin pulled out of his fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 114 later this month due to an injury.   Griffin is currently looking to navigate his way back to a title shot and a win over Machida would be a major boost for his career.  At the same time his straight-ahead, predictable style could well play into Machida’s counter-striking style making this a desirable match-up for the Brazilian as he looks to get back to winning ways.

I don’t see much call for a rematch with Rashad Evans just yet, but if Quinton Jackson is defeated by him at UFC 114 then Rampage would become a suitable challenge for Machida.

The winner of Chuck Liddell Vs Rich Franklin could also qualify as Machida’s next opponent.  A fight with Liddell could be a blockbuster ratings wise, while a rematch with Franklin, who Machida defeated in Japan back in 2003, could be an interesting story-line.

A final suggestion would be Randy Couture, assuming he defeats James Toney, if that fight does indeed take place.  Couture has his eyes set on a title shot, but fighting guys like Mark Coleman and Toney won’t cut it.  A bout with Machida has been talked about before, and a win their could be just what ‘The Natural’ needs.

It could be a match-up that suits Machida as well since Couture is a legend, but is beginning to slow down at the age of 46 and is no longer the force he once was.

If I had to choose between them then I’d look to one of the veterans – Couture, Liddell or Franklin – as the most likely options.  The reason for this is that if Rampage loses his next fight then I believe a rematch with Griffin may well be next on the cards for him, which would take them out the picture for the time being.

As for the distant future, I think a rubber match with Shogun is almost inevitable.

9 COMMENTS

  1. What about an up and rising contender like Ryan Bader?

    Or possibly a ‘lighter’ match for his first fight back after losing the title, against someone like Brandon Vera?

    Though, maybe they’d rather put Machida back in ‘Main Event’ status right away…thus put him up against another ‘big name’ opponent for the marquee. Personally, I just wouldn’t want to see him fight Liddell for some reason.

    Either way, I hope his injury doesn’t require surgery and that he gets back in the groove as soon as possible. Hopefully he’ll fight before the end of this year.

  2. Hi Gummo. The last I heard Machida won’t be needing surgery and does expect to fight again before the end of the year so that’s good news.

    Either of the fighters you suggested would certainly be feasible. Personally I feel that if he had lost two in a row then a fight with a Bader or Vera would be a good plan, but this was the only loss in his career to date so I don’t feel like the UFC should be wrapping him up in cotton wool just yet.

    Also as you rightly point out Machida is still a big name and I think they’ll be looking for a higher profile bout for his return.

  3. I personally think that a good match for machida would be someone like jones….or maybe lil nog…id either like to see that or see lil nog vs jones and see machida fight the loser of rampage/ evans….i think that if evans loses maybe the ufc could hype machida evans 2 as an epic rematch….lol…i think that despite the loss to shogunb that machida is still prolly the second best light heavy in the world…and i find it hard to beleave that anyone else would be able to beat him….inless it was a hungry upcoming contender like jones or lil nog….and as far as the randy machida fight talk i think that it would be a snooze fest…jus my opinion

  4. I agree about the possibility of a Machida – Couture not being the most exciting match-up. It’s not my own personal choice – it’s just the path I think the UFC is more likely to go down after weighing up the pros and cons of the available fights.

    Jones or Lil Nog would be great fights for sure. The word is that the UFC are looking to take things slowly with Jones though – as is proven by the fact the Vladmir Matyushenko is his next opponent – so I’m not convinced a fight with Machida will come around anytime soon.

    As far as Lil Nog goes, I think that’s more likely, but the reason I didn’t mention that as one of the main options is that after Machida’s defeat Ed Soares said that the members of the Blackhouse team had agreed to start training with each other more regularly. Considering Machida and Lil Nog are part of that team it makes me think they’ll now be more reluctant to fight each other.

  5. Honestly I think Machida should retire. That lost was a total confidence murderer. That Karate stunt is now “read”. He had his ass beaten by a lacky Muay Thai practitioner with no fight technical analysis and just throws hail mary blows.

  6. I don’t think he needs to go that far Mik-Mik! I feel like Shogun just proved to be his nemesis, but there’s still plenty of other fighters out their who his style will continue to give problems for.

    Incidentally, the latest rumor is that Forrest Griffin could be his next opponent. That would be a good fight for Machida.

  7. i think machida deserves a rematch, afterall he did give shogun a rematch..and lets not forget shogun can be beaten. cause he did get his ass wooped by forest griffin.

  8. For me a rematch would be good between machida & Rua. but Machida must heal 1st before he gets His vendetta, when they face in the octagon again. The rest of the fighters does’nt match-up the style of machida. That’s my point of view. UFC really is the highest martial arts degree where we could say the beat of fighters are already their.

  9. I want for the third rematch between machida and rua. Lyoto Machida is my idol. His movements is very nice. Go Lyoto, its not the end of time. You are the legend.

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