MANCHESTER – Dana White seldom makes bookings for his fighters right after a show is over, but sometimes he starts to steer things in a direction if he can’t book a bout outright.
On Saturday, after Lyoto Machida stopped Mark Munoz with a “Knockout of the Night” head kick at UFC Fight Night 30, White had a pretty good idea of what he’d like to see Machida do next.
The UFC president said that if he took his executive hat off for a minute, a fight between Machida and fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort is what he’d like to put together.
“It was huge. Huge,” White told MMAjunkie.com of Machida’s win over Munoz. “I think, and I’m just talking here as a fan, not as a promoter, 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. And who knows – (Machida) could fight someone else before that. But I’m just saying, as a fan, and speaking for many fans, that’s the fight they want to see. At least that’s what everyone was screaming at me on the way out of the arena tonight.”
Machida took a mostly indifferent stance, which is typical of many fighters.
“I don’t know (who I want to fight next),” Machida said. “My boss, he can decide.”
And when White heard that, he took advantage, pushing the potential Brazilian vs. Brazilian matchup a little further.
“He said he wants to fight Vitor Belfort – that’s what he said,” White replied.
“Yeah, that’s what I said,” Belfort said in retort.
Belfort (23-10 MMA, 12-6 UFC) next month meets Dan Henderson (29-10 MMA, 6-4 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 31 in Brazil.
Machida stepped in on a month’s notice to fight Munoz in England after Michael Bisping had to pull out due to a detached retina. The fight was the former light heavyweight champion’s first at middleweight, and it was an impressive start. Many believed a win over Munoz would fast-track Machida to the type of fight that would have him fighting for a title again, but at 185 pounds and not 205.
Earlier in the week, Bisping said he would be interested in fighting the Machida-Munoz winner – perhaps even in London in March when the UFC returns to the U.K. But White said that’s a long shot.
“I love Mike Bisping, but here’s the thing – he’s out for six months,” White said. “Have you seen his eye? His eye is a mess. So he’s going to be out for a while. What he believes and what the doctor believes are two different things. When he becomes a doctor, then I’ll start listening to what he believes about his eye.” So while it appears Machida has some options being floated around, it will be a wait-and-see proposition for who he’ll get next.
For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 30, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.