TORRANCE, Calif. – Lyoto Machidadoesn’t believe he’s necessarily at a size disadvantage in his current weight class, but he aims to prove he is viable at a lighter one.
The former light heavyweight champion still is talking about a move down to middleweight, where he said the UFC can choose his next opponent.
“Maybe I can fight in both classes,” Machida on Wednesday toldMMAjunkie.com(www.mmajunkie.com). “Everybody saw that I drink water before I get on the scale.”
Machida (18-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC), who clocked in at a svelte 201 pounds for his most recent fight, a second-round knockout of Ryan Bader in August, said he’s between 210 and 212 three days from his fight with ex-champ Dan Henderson (29-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC), which serves as the co-main event of UFC 157 on Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Despite his trim frame, “The Dragon” said there are skeptics within his camp that doubt he can get down to 186 pounds, which is the limit for non-title middleweight competitors.
“But I can,” he said. “I’m going to show them.”
And while Machida wants to challenge himself in a new division, he’s not looking to make a run at the title of middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva, whom he considers a friend.
At the same time, though, he’s open to fighting sparring partner and standout light heavyweight Glover Teixeira if either of them holds the title at 205 pounds.
For now, Machida is angling for that belt, which currently resides around the waist of Jon Jones. The current champ choked him unconscious at UFC 140, but despite the fight’s ending, he doesn’t feel like he was or is at a size disadvantage.
“He’s a little heavy for me,” Machida said. “But I can block that with technique.”
Machida recently stated his belief that the winner of Saturday’s bout should get a title shot at Jones. But so far, UFC President Dana White hasn’t committed to that idea. The executive was critical of Machida for turning down a fight with the champ at UFC 152 due to lack of preparation time, and recently has indicated that young standout Alexander Gustafsson may get the title nod with a win over Gegard Mousasi at UFC on FUEL TV 9.
White promised to give Machida the opportunity after the karate master knocked out Bader at UFC on FOX 4. While much of that goodwill evaporated in the ensuing months, a good performance (and lackluster one from Gustafsson) may turn the tide in his favor.
But if he continues to hover in his current division, it may prompt a move southward, where his size and pinpoint striking could give him an advantage.
“If I have a chance, I would like to fight at 185 pounds,” Machida said.