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Lyoto Machida didn't escape the cage unscathed. | File photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com


Lyoto Machida’s title prospects may now hinge upon the health of his left foot.

The Brazilian injured his oft-used appendage in the main event of UFC Fight Night 36, in which “The Dragon” took a unanimous decision from Gegard Mousasi at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.

“I don’t know exactly what happened, but maybe in the third round I did some kicking, and he defended with his knee,” Machida told Fox Sports after the victory. “I don’t know if I broke my foot. I just tried to keep my focus on the fight, because I knew he was a tough opponent, and I tried my best.”

Machida used that left foot expertly throughout the contest, dictating distance and connecting with kicks both high and low over the course of the 25-minute contest.

“Sometimes [Mousasi] keeps his hands down, and I saw that I could kick him,” said Machida. “I started to kick his head, his body and his leg. I know he’s a good opponent who fought in K-1, but I’m very confident in my kicks.”

The victory marked Machida’s second appearance at 185 pounds after an extended run at light heavyweight, during which he captured and lost the UFC title. The karate black belt was even more impressive in his middleweight debut this past October, when he knocked out former training partner Mark Munoz with a first-round head kick.

“I’ve found my weight. Before, when I fought at 205, there were a lot of big guys,” said Machida. “In this class, I feel like a big guy. Mousasi, for example, is shorter than me. I can fight against everybody, and it’s no problem for me, because I can put my technique and my strength together.”

Machida now stands as one of two apparent top contenders for the middleweight crown, with Ronaldo Souza serving as the other potential challenger for the winner of Chris Weidman’s upcoming title defense against Vitor Belfort. While the condition of Machida’s foot is still unknown, the karateka said he will be ready for whatever the UFC has planned.

“I don’t know who deserves the title shot,” said Machida. “Dana White is the boss, and he can decide everything. I think I deserve the title shot, too. We’ll see.”

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