Fresh off his first-round head kick knockout win over friend and training partner Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30 last weekend (Oct. 26, 2013) in Manchester, England (watch it here), Lyoto Machida has already set his sights on his next opponent.
"The Dragon" (via MMA Fighting) says the fight that makes the most sense for him at the moment is a bout against fellow countryman Vitor Belfort, seeing as how "The Phenom" is the hottest fighter in the middleweight division following back-to-back knockout victories over Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping.
Machida makes his case:
"Vitor Belfort is the best option for me right now. I want to fight him. It would be the best fight for me right now because he's well ranked in the middleweight division. No hard feelings, I'm thinking what's best for my career and where I can get with a win. Even if Vitor loses to Dan Henderson, I'd want to fight him in our weight class."
Since the Henderson vs. Belfort fight will be contested at light heavyweight, a loss for "The Phenom" will likely have no affect on his status as a top middleweight contender, so a fight against "The Dragon" does indeed make sense.
According to Machida, A win over an established veteran and streaking fighter such as Belfort should catapult him straight to the top of the division rankings and inch him closer to the 185-pound title.
In addition, should Lyoto get his much-desired shot at the gold, he doesn't seem to object to the idea of potentially fighting another training partner in Anderson Silva if it came down to it.
"A win over Vitor Belfort puts me in front of everybody in the rankings, but let's see what happens. It's too soon to talk about it because Anderson Silva is too far away from me right now. Even if he wins, I don't know for how long he will want to keep fighting. I haven't talked to him for a long time. I don't know how it's going to work, we have the same managers. I rather not to talk about it now. When we get there, we'll figure it out."
And should the cards fall into place, it seems Lyoto has no qualms in putting hands (or feet) on his good friend, as was the case in his destruction of "The Filipino Wrecking Machine."
Machida vs. Belfort, who wants to see it?