It may well go down as one of the greatest ever KO’s in the history of the sport, and it’s undoubtedly a pivotal moment in ‘The Dragon’s’ career, propelling him back up towards the summit of the light-heavyweight division.
So what comes next for the former champion?
Dana White confirmed at last night’s post-fight press conference that Machida is indeed back in the mix at the top of the division, but he also stated that he’s not ready for a title shot just yet.
Another big name opponent is almost certain for Machida, but many of the top ranking stars are already booked to fight in the coming months so who he faces next may very well be dependant on timing and who emerges victorious in some of these upcoming bouts.
If the UFC want to get Machida back in the Octagon sooner rather than later then the winner of Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson Vs Matt Hamill who fight next month is perhaps the best choice.
Many people, this writer included, felt that there was unfinished business between Machida and Rampage following their extremely close encounter at UFC 123 late last year, and if there paths were to cross again it could set up a future No.1 contender at 205lbs.
Other than that Machida will have to wait a while in order to fight one of the top contenders, with the winner of August 27th’s Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua Vs Forrest Griffin bout standing out as another suitable option.
At last night’s presser Dana White appeared willing to consider a third fight between Machida and Shogun, while a bout with Griffin has been talked about in the past.
If Ryan Bader emerges victorious against Tito Ortiz, as many expect him to at UFC 132 in July, then that’s also a fight that makes a lot of sense.