Yesterday we reported that the UFC were trying to put together a middleweight encounter between Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort, but it’s now emerged that ‘The Phenom’ isn’t interested in that fight.
“I wanted Machida to fight Vitor Belfort, but Vitor Belfort is his own matchmaker, apparently,” Dana White informed MMAJunkie.com. “He wants to make his own fights.”
That’s a blow for the UFC who are already less than happy with Belfort for turning down a proposed bout with Tim Kennedy recently, but they are looking to bounce back quickly by now offering the Machida fight at 185lbs to Nick Diaz.
“I talked to Diaz today, and I made him an offer, so we’ll see what happens,” White said.
In all honesty I’ve got to say this seems like an odd bit of match-making on a number of levels. For a start, after striking out with Belfort who’d already told the UFC he didn’t want anything other than a title fight at middleweight, it seems a bit of a gamble to then target Diaz who’s currently in semi-retirement and hasn’t appeared particularly eager to return.
Stylistically it’s also a curious choice. Diaz is at his best when he’s up against someone who’ll meet him toe-to-toe as Paul Daley did back in the Strikeforce days, but Machida’s elusive, counter-striking style could well result in a bout that shapes up far more like Diaz’s fight with Carlos Condit which wasn’t exactly a crowd-pleaser.
Given how frustrated Diaz was with what he claimed was Condit “running” during that five-rounder, I can’t imagine he’s going to be overly enthusiastic to make his return against Machida, and have to move up in weight to do so.
Stranger things have happened though so let’s see if the UFC managed to strike a deal. If not there’s no shortage of other options for both Machida and Diaz.