Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida was all set to make his middleweight debut inside the Octagon -- but it had nothing to do with getting choked unconscious by Jon Jones at UFC 140 last December.
Instead, "The Dragon" wanted to stay active, even if it meant dropping to 185 pounds, until his coaches talked him down from the ledge and told him to "be patient."
The Brazilian has since been paired off against Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 Champion Ryan Bader, who like Machida, is trying to get himself back "in the mix" at UFC on FOX 4 later this year in Los Angeles.
So, how about that change in weight classes?
"I was ready to fight but the opportunity was not there. The division is lacking, it's a bit mixed, and I didn't know, right (who would be my next opponent)? I even had the intention of fighting at 185lbs so I wouldn't lose the opportunity of keeping busy. I spoke to Ed Soares and (Jorge Guimarães), but they told me to be patient. Look, I'm a guy that usually weighs at most 96kg (21lbs), so I don't think there would be a problem fighting (at middleweight). My objective is to fight at (205lbs), but to make a fight at middleweight would not be a problem. Anderson is a comrade of mine, a friend in my team. (Middleweight) is his, but I would take a fight to keep me busy. The important thing is to keep fighting, it's the adrenaline. I would like to fight there, but only with the objective of keeping me busy."
Machida recently steered himself out of an uncharacteristic losing skid with a sensational front-kick knockout over Randy Couture back at UFC 129. Unfortunately, the taste of victory was short-lived because of an opportunity to challenge "Bones" for the belt he lost to Mauricio Rua two years ago.
Jones ended the fight in dramatic fashion, wrapping his long arms around the throat of "The Dragon" in round two and securing a standing guillotine choke that put the Brazilian to sleep. It is certainly a memory that Machida would like to put in the rear-view mirror sooner rather than later. And there's no better way to do that than to get back inside the Octagon with a fighter who is equally as motivated to get back on top.
But a loss to "Darth" and that trip south may be for more than just killing time.
UFC on FOX 4 is scheduled to take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sat., Aug. 4, 2012. Other bouts include a middleweight slugfest between Hector Lombard vs. Brian Stann and a lightweight scrap featuring Joe Lauzon vs. Terry Etim.
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