Two-fight UFC veteran and undefeated Ryoto Machida (10-0) is the likely opponent for Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (16-2) at UFC 76, according to recent statements from UFC President Dana White in The Gainesville Sun.
Here's the quick snip:
".... White said Rua's most likely first opponent will be Ryoto Machida ..."
Machida has toppled Sam Hoger and David Heath -- in rather unceremonious fashion (decisions) -- since his UFC arrival from the World Fighting Alliance (WFA) earlier this year.
The 205-pound fighter also has previous wins over former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin, as well as other UFC notables such as Stephan Bonnar and BJ Penn.
Machida gets a bum wrap for having somewhat of a "boring" style. He's an effective counter striker who forces and frustrates opponents to fight his type of fight. That could all change, however, on September 22 at UFC 76 in Anaheim, Calif., against Rua.
Shogun is perhaps the most talented mixed martial artist in the light heavyweight division today. The Brazilian has an aggressive style, putting away nearly 90 percent of his opponents early.
White has mentioned in previous interviews that Rua will earn a title shot if he can win in his debut against a "tough" opponent.
Until now, it was rather unclear who that would be. But Machida certainly fits the description.
This should be a solid match up.