With the UFC’s middleweight division in a state of flux as champion Chris Weidman waits to make his next title defense against Vitor Belfort in December, other top contenders are trying land dance partners.
Namely, former light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida, who is coming of a spirited decision loss to Weidman in July. Machida is currently ranked No. 2 in the UFC’s media-derived middleweight rankings, and there was some talk about him facing No. 5 ranked Luke Rockhold next. Yet that changed when Michael Bisping, ranked No. 8, defeated Cung Le on Saturday in Macau at UFC Fight Night 48. With a lingering beef going on between Bisping and Rockhold, it looks like the UFC is leaning towards making that fight.
Which leaves Machida back at the old drawing board. With Ronaldo Souza (No. 4) getting set to fightGegard Mousasi (No. 7) on Sept. 5 in Connecticut, and Yoel Romero (No. 10) vs. Tim Kennedy (No. 6) set for UFC 178 in late September, Machida is eying the only other available guy in the top ten: C.B. Dollaway.
Speaking to UFC Tonight, Machida’s camp said that they have come to terms with the fact that it’s most likely going to be Rockhold vs. Bisping next. Ariel Helwani reported that while Machida made it clear he doesn’t choose opponents, he and his camp think the only guy who makes sense otherwise to fight next is Dollaway (who currently No. 9 in the rankings). Dollaway is coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Francis Carmont in May.
Though the fight has been discussed, nothing is close to set yet.