Former Ultimate Fighting Championship light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida looks to build his legacy in a new division at UFC Fight Night 30, when he makes his 185-pound debut opposite Mark Munoz this weekend.
Machida was still one of the top fighters in the world at 205 pounds. But a controversial loss to Phil Davis at UFC 163 prompted the Brazilian to look for a quicker path to his next title shot in Manchester, England on Saturday.
He said he believes he will have to do less at middleweight than he now would at light-heavyweight to fight for another UFC championship.
Having only lost to champion Chris Weidman over the past three years, Munoz will be a good test to see where Machida stands among the middleweights. Also a former light-heavy, Munoz is a top five middleweight right now, so a win over him would immediately place Machida in the running for a title shot.
Muñoz, known as “The Filipino Wrecking Machine,” faces his good friend “The Dragon” after Munoz’s original opponent, Michael Bisping, withdrew from the match after suffering an eye injury.
“It’s a very big challenge, but at the same time, we’re professionals,” Munoz said. “This is business. Nothing personal and the winner is going to buy dinner.
“It’s crazy, it just took us by surprise. But it is a business, that’s just the way it is. We’ll remain friends afterwards.”