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Lyoto Machida expecting another UFC title shot (please humor him)

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Brunson vs Machida Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Lyoto Machida was good enough at light heavyweight to capture the division crown, so it would be reasonable to expect “The Dragon” to replicate that success if he shed some extra skin and dropped down a weight class.

Yeah, about that...

After getting outwrestled by Phil Davis in late 2013, Machida (22-8) made his middleweight debut by Cro-Cop’ing Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30. A follow-up win over Gegard Mousasi gave him 25 minutes to dethrone then-champion Chris Weidman, but “All American” prevailed.

He rebounded by stopping CB Dollaway later that year, but then suffered three straight losses in which he was finished -- violently — all three times, the latter of which came against Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night 119.

Time to call it a career?

"I don’t think about retirement yet,” Machida told MMA Fighting. "I want to continue fighting. I want to be champion in this division. I dedicate most of my time to this goal. My biggest desire is to put on a good fight, with a well-ranked opponent, so that I climb the ranking and get back in a position to challenge for a belt.”

Start here.

There was some hope, at least initially, that Machida’s mandatory vacation, which came on the heels of his surprise drug-test suspension, would give his brain some much-needed rest and conjure up some of the old “Dragon” mojo that helped start his pro career at 16-0.

Brunson wasn’t having it.

In addition, the No. 14-ranked Machida turns 40 next May, which means a run at the title will require him to compete several times in 2018 against the likes of top-five competition like Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza, among others.

Color me pessimistic, but I don't like his chances.

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