Lyoto Machida was campaigning to fight either Vitor Belfort or Chael Sonnen next, but as the MMA world now knows, he’ll fight middleweight Tim Kennedy instead. While the November 6th bout is an intriguing one for several reasons, it doesn’t change the fact that Machida didn’t have Kennedy on his radar.
The former light-heavyweight champ spoke to MMA Fighting.com after the fight was announced, which will headline the UFC’s next “Fight for the Troops” card at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Here’s what the 35 year-old had to say about the reality that he’ll throw down with Kennedy next, and not Belfort or Sonnen.
“Tim Kennedy is a tough guy, but I wanted to fight (Vitor) Belfort or Chael Sonnen next,” he said. “But sometimes you can’t choose.”
“Fighting Belfort in Brazil would be a good option for me. He has his fans, I have mine, and it would be a great fight. But they decided not to do it. And Sonnen always has something to say, and he wanted to fight at light heavyweight, so maybe that would be a good opportunity to fight him too. He said he wanted to fight me in a parking lot, so I tried to make that fight, but the UFC chose Kennedy. Who knows, maybe I’ll fight (Sonnen) in the near future.”
Parking lot huh? As Machida also noted, since Kennedy is a decorated soldier, fighting him at an American military base could be an interesting experience.
“I like challenges like that, fighting a war veteran inside his ‘home’,” Machida said. “I have no problems with that. When the time comes, the crowd will want to see a good show.”
While Machida-Belfort or Machida-Sonnen would have been a bigger fight, particularly in Brazil, if you’re a “Dragon” fan it’s good to hear he isn’t looking past Kennedy. The rugged and well rounded vet has lost just twice since 2007, and both were decision losses to Luke Rockhold and “Jacare” Souza. In other words, the UFC isn’t giving Machida a pass in his first middleweight tilt.
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