Good news for Lyoto Machida fans, the former light-heavyweight champion is back and training and awaiting word on his next opponent.
According to his manager Ed Soares in a new interview with MMAweekly.com, “He’s ready to fight whoever, he wants to fight the best too.”
So far the names that have been mentioned publicly are Forrest Griffin and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
According to Soares Machida has some other possible opponents in mind.
Rich Franklin: “That could be a big fight,” Soares says. “At the end of the day that’s the first guy that who gave Rich Franklin his first loss as a professional. Maybe Rich Franklin would like to avenge that. That could be a good fight.”
Vitor Belfort: “You know what I think would be an interesting is, how about Vitor Belfort? I think Vitor will now get another fight before he fights Anderson Silva. Put it this way, anything can happen, you never know.”
Rashad Evans: “Since ‘Shogun’ is out – they’re saying until March – personally, when there’s an injured champion, I would love to see maybe a Rashad-Lyoto match for the interim title. I think that would be something that would be cool, and the winner of that would get to fight ‘Shogun’ when he’s all healed up in the spring of next year.”
Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua: “He’d love to fight Shogun again. It’s 1-1 now, you know what I mean? Let’s fight it again. But he’ll fight whoever. When the UFC is ready, they’ll give us that shot.”
Rich Franklin seems like a good choice to me – I suggested as much in a ‘what’s next’ feature after his loss to Shogun. Vitor Belfort seems unlikely given that he’s currently plying his trade at 185lbs though.
A fight with Rampage at this stage also now seems doubtful with ‘The ‘A-Team’ star apparently less than enthusiastic about the match-up. Forrest Griffin does appear to still be in the running though, and would be a good match-up for ‘The Dragon.’
Rashad Evans is a new possibility that’s emerged due to Shogun’s injury. The UFC may be looking for fresh opponents for Machida at this stage though, rather than going for the familiar with a second fight with Evans potentially followed by a potential third fight with Shogun.