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IronMan 05-25-2009 02:40 AM

The Dragonís Future: The Next Matchups for Lyoto

Originally Posted by IronMan @ MMAOpinion
With Lyoto Machida now installed as the UFC lightheavyweight champion, a crowning that I think we can all be proud of given the exciting nature of his win over Rashad Evans, displaying that his knockout of Thiago Silva was not at all a flash in the proverbial pan, it’s worth taking a second to look ahead at what’s next for the karate master from Brazil.

Immediate questions arise: Who will he look to defend his title against first? Will he continue to finish as the champion? How long will he maintain that title in a division that seems packed with talent and fierce contenders? How long will his immaculate record, free of the loss of even a single round in the confines of the Octagon, stay in tact?

It’s one thing to be undefeated when you are among the contenders, beating fighters all clawing their way to the top, focused more on the prize of the division, that bulky strap, than their opponents, much of the time. It’s different when you’re that ultimate target, that fighter that everyone is looking to take down a peg. When you’re that final goal, everyone is gunning for you, and it will be interesting to see how Machida copes with that pressure.

Still, what will have more impact, in my opinion, than the nature of the division as a whole, are the specific cast of talented characters we’re looking at in the division, so I thought I’d walk through the matchups I see coming (as well as a brief overview of their likelihood, to see if I could offer a little insight into what’s next for the new champ.

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