Lyoto Machida's UFC contract has expired: How much is 'The Dragon' worth as a middleweight contender?

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

He may not command "Anderson Silva money," as he once thought, but Lyoto Machida is definitely worth more than the average bear.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida was making a pretty penny in the promotion's 205-pound division, cashing a check for $200,000 each and every time he fought.

No win bonus, but for that kind of coin, it's all good.

Now it's time to re-up for "The Dragon" who fulfilled the final fight on his existing contract by pasting Mark Munoz in the main event of UFC Fight Night 30, which took place last Saturday night (Oct. 26, 2013) at Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England.

Talk about going out with a bang.

The win marked Machida's first as a middleweight, dropping him snugly in the center of the division's top 10 rankings. Not only did the Brazilian manage to revitalize his career, he also renewed fan interest in a mixed martial arts (MMA) pilgrimage that was consistently inconsistent.

Win a few fights, get close to the title, come up lame in a big spot.

It's a trend that afflicts a lot of fighters (hi Bisping), but Machida looked fluid and deadly against "The Filipino Wrecking Machine." There's really no reason to think he's not going to be a major player at 185 pounds and to his credit, he only wants to fight the best.

Unfortunately, the feeling is not always mutual.

"The Dragon" has managed to fire up the fans and when fans want to see you fight, they tune in to FOX, buy pay-per-views and order official merchandise. That's means more money for the ZUFFA bottom line and as such, should mean more money for Machida.

But just how much more?

That remains to be seen. The Blackhouse banger is already 35 years old and could be looking at the final championship run of his long journey. A couple of losses at middleweight would be catastrophic as far as career longevity goes, and UFC may not want to invest too heavily in an uncertain future.

So how about it, fight fans, what's Machida worth these days?

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