In a seven-year career in the UFC, Brazilian knock-out artist Lyoto Machida steadfastly refused to fight in his natural weight class … because he didn’t want to fight his good friend Anderson Silva.
With his fellow Brazilian losing the UFC’s middleweight title this year, former light heavyweight (205lb) champion Machida finally bit the bullet and stepped down to the 185lb division.
Did he manage to avoid a fight with Silva? Yes.
But the step down to middleweight only led him to a clash against a different friend … his longtime training partner and decorated college wrestler, Mark Munoz.
Leading into their headline bout in Manchester, England, both fighters were at pains to say they would put their friendship to one side as they fought to advance their title claims in the middleweight division.
But just seconds after Machida finished the contest with a brutal first round head kick KO, their friendship was again shining through.
Machida immediately went to the aid of the felled Munoz, helping him to his feet before the pair shared an embrace in the Octagon.
And just hours after the fight, the pair shared dinner … Machida paying the bill, as agreed in a pre-fight bet.
With their bout now out of the way, fans and analysts have quickly turned their attention to the next possible opponent for Machida (20-4), now ranked the number five middleweight in the UFC.
Already, UFC president Dana White has floated the possibility of a bout between Machida and fellow Brazilian and number two ranked middleweight, Vitor Belfort (23-10). Other potential opponents could include number-three ranked Ronaldo Souza (19-3) or number four ranked Brit Michael Bisping (24-5).