Jorge Guimaraes, manager for No. 5-ranked (see Top 10 list here) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight, Lyoto Machida, informed Ariel Helwani earlier this evening on "UFC Tonight" that he believes Belfort will reject a future fight against Machida because of "an unfavorable style match up."
Machida is fresh off a first round head-kick knockout of Mark Munoz (watch video highlights here) at UFC Fight Night 30, which took place last weekend (Sat., Oct. 26, 2013) in Manchester, England. It signaled an explosive 185-pound debut for the former Light Heavyweight champion.
Munoz, however, was not Machida's first choice. In fact, Machida revealed shortly after his ill-fated match against Tim Kennedy was announced that he wanted to battle his countryman in Brazil. And even before that, UFC President Dana White made it known that he would have "loved" to pit Belfort vs. Machida in the co-main event of UFC 167 next month.
Machida, reluctantly, ended up opposite Munoz -- a good friend and training partner -- once all the dust settled. Meanwhile, Belfort agreed to rematch Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32 next weekend (Sat., Nov. 9, 2013) in South America.
But, the chatter didn't end there.
Even if "The Phenom" loses to "Hendo," Machida recently made it clear after his destruction of "Filipino Wrecking Machine" that he is still interested in a showdown. And White, once again, reiterated his support of the mixed martial arts (MMA) match up.
Belfort? He's been silent on the issue, which is understandable for now, considering he most likely wants to focus on Henderson. But, once that fight is over, Belfort will eventually have to answer Machida and White's call to arms.
And he better have a solid response, especially if he loses, because -- whether he likes it or not -- Machida is now a big, meaningful in-division scrap. One that would silence the critics (and White), as well as ensure that he is the clear-cut No. 1 contender.
It's not that "difficult" if he's currently second-best, right?