Even with title-shot grant, Soares says Lyoto Machida's next move still unclear


lyoto-machida-27.jpgIf all goes according to plan, Lyoto Machida (19-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) will try and regain the UFC light heavyweight title sometime this summer. But his manager, Ed Soares, said timing will play a very important factor in his client’s next fight.

“We’ve spoken with the UFC,” Soares told Ron Kruck on Friday’s new edition of AXS TV’s “Inside MMA.” “Lyoto doesn’t want to spend too much time outside of the octagon. He wants to get in there and stay busy. He doesn’t want to wait too long.”

A former champion, Machida gained the belt with a 2009 knockout of Rashad Evans. After defending the belt once against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Machida ceded the title in a 2010 rematch.

In December 2011, Machida challenged current champ Jon Jones for the title and made a game effort in the opening round before being choked unconscious in the second frame of the UFC 140 headliner.

However, Machida has since bounced back with wins over Ryan Bader and, most recently, Dan Henderson, after which UFC President Dana White named “The Dragon” the No. 1 contender and promised him a fight with the winner of April’s Jones vs. Chael Sonnen title fight. But Soares doesn’t necessarily believe that matchup is a given and prefers to take a wait-and-see approach before considering anything a guarantee.

“Chael vs. Jon Jones is the next fight,” Soares said. “We have to first of all see how that fight turns out. Then we have to see if the winner comes out of there healthy.”

If Jones or Sonnen do suffer an injury in victory and are forced to the sidelines for an extended period of time, it would seem Machida isn’t necessarily ready to wait. Of course, as the current No. 1 contender in the division, he would need a top-level opponent. The winner of April’s UFC on FUEL TV 9 headliner between Alexander Gustafsson and Gegard Mousasi could potentially provide an option, but there isn’t really one clear candidate that stands head and shoulders above the rest. As such, Soares said he and Machida are playing a waiting game.

Another shot at the title remains the ultimate goal, but the future doesn’t appear to be set in stone just yet.

“We can’t really make any decisions until after that (Jones vs. Sonnen) fight happens because when you look at the rankings, and you look at the top-10 fighters, all of the guys that make sense for Lyoto fight have fights already,” Soares said.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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