First, a disclaimer: Lyoto Machida is 100 percent focused on his upcoming fight with Ryan Bader.
But should Machida be victorious, Machida’s manager, Ed Soares, has an idea about the ex-champ’s next step.
“If Lyoto wins and (Mauricio) ‘Shogun’ (Rua) wins, maybe make them the coaches of the next Brazilian ‘TUF,’ and have them fight the rubber match,” Soares toldMMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Ex-champs Machida and Rua fight alongside each other on the FOX-televised main card of UFC on FOX 4, which takes place Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Rua fights veteran Brandon Vera in the main event while Machida vs. Bader serves as the co-main.
The pair’s first meeting took place at the same venue almost three years ago at UFC 104. Then-light heavyweight champ Machida unanimously outpointed Rua in a widely unpopular decision. An immediate rematch took place seven months later at UFC 113 and ended emphatically for Rua when he knocked Machida out in the first round to capture the belt.
After a knee injury sidelined him for 10 months, Rua lost the title in his first defense when Jon Jones TKOd him at UFC 128.
Soares said he pitched the idea of a Machida vs. Rua season to UFC executives Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White and was warmly received.
“Lorenzo mentioned that ‘Shogun’ has mentioned something to him about possibly doing that,” Soares said. “I think it’s a great idea. I think ‘Shogun’ is a huge name and a former champion, and so is Lyoto. They have a history. It’s 1-1.”
Reported ratings for the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” indicated an out-of-the-box success for the UFC. In a previous interview with MMAjunkie.com, UFC executive Marshall Zelaznik said the show was No. 1 in its Sunday timeslot and averaged 10 million viewers per week during its 12-week run.
Filming for a second season is planned to begin in January of next year for a March debut.
“When you start looking at the data, you could almost lump the U.S., Canada and the U.K. together, and it wouldn’t be as many fans as there are here in Brazil,” Zelaznik said. “The country has adopted the sport.”
Of course, both Machida and Rua likely need to win their respective fights to earn consideration as coaches. Hence, the disclaimer from Soares.
“What’s going to happen after the fight, we’ll worry about that on Aug. 5,” he said. “[Machida's] focus is on Ryan Bader because Bader is a tough opponent. He just beat (Quinton) ‘Rampage’ (Jackson), and that’s no joke.”