Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida racked up his second victory in the middleweight division on Saturday night against Gegard Mousasi, but he’s not earned himself a shot at the title just yet.
At the post-fight press conference, the UFC’s Brazilian official Grace Tourinho indicated that the plan now is to wait on the outcome of the next 185lb title fight between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort at UFC 173 in May first before coming to a decision on who’s next in line.
It’s open to debate whether Machida would instantly have received the opportunity had he been able to produce a stoppage victory against Mousasi rather than eeking out a solid rather than spectacular win on the scorecards, but Dana White seemed relatively happy with his performance.
“It was a great fight!” White wrote on Twitter after awarding the bout ‘Fight Of The Night’. “Lyoto looked f–king awesome against someone NASTY.”
The UFC may instead be hanging fire to see whether Machida has broken his foot or not, after ‘The Dragon’ revealed he had hurt it during the fight.
If so, that could leave Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza in pole position for the next title shot after he claimed a decision victory over Francis Carmont in the co-main event at the weekend.
However, he too now looks to be getting set to spend time on the treatment table after revealing that he fought with an injured elbow and will now seek surgery that’s likely to keep him out for six weeks.
Truth be told, Machida and ‘Jacare’ are pretty much neck and neck in the race to earn the call to fight for the title, so it’s not out of the realms of possibility that the UFC would consider pairing them up to establish a definitive No.1 contender.
It’s something that was suggested to both fighters by the media post-fight on Saturday night, and while the two Brazilian’s seemed reluctant to do so, they didn’t rule it out if that’s what the UFC decides is best.
“This fight can happen, yes,” ‘Jacare’ said at the post-fight press conference. “I wouldn’t like this fight, but I’d take it.”
“Like ‘Jacare’ said, I wouldn’t like this fight, but I’d take it,” Machid agreed.