All too often, fans of mixed martial arts don't get to see the fights they want because of injuries or contract disputes or because fighters are training partners and don't want to face each other. And sometimes, fighters don't even want to face their own countrymen, for some strange reason that I haven't quite figured out. Anderson Silva, I'm looking at you.
But sometimes the stars align, which looks to be the case when it comes to Lyoto Machida and his next fight.
Machida knocked out friend and training partner Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30 to make an emphatic middleweight debut. Afterwards, UFC president Dana White noted he'd like to see Machida face Vitor Belfort next:
I think a lot of people want to see him and Vitor Belfort. That would be a fun fight. Vitor's got to win down in Brazil.
White was referring, of course, to Belfort's upcoming fight with Dan Henderson. That's no gimme, but Belfort is a 2-to-1 favorite for a reason. He should win the fight, and if he does, a matchup with Machida is only logical, especially when you consider that the winner would be nicely set up for a middleweight title shot.
The good news? Machida says he's game:
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.
Belfort is facing Henderson at 205 pounds, but it's just a one-off bout before Belfort continues his quest for another middleweight title shot after being famously knocked out by Anderson Silva in 2011. As Machida correctly points out, even if Belfort loses at light heavyweight—as he did last year when he took a late-notice bout against champion Jon Jones—it won't affect him in the eyes of the UFC when it comes to the middleweight division.
He'll be allowed to continue on his merry way. I, for one, hope that merry way leads him right to Machida's doorstep.