Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida is ready to return to the Octagon from his first-round knockout loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in May and hopes to quickly get back into title contention following his first career loss.
Machida’s manager, Ed Soares, mentioned Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Forrest Griffin, and a rematch with Rich Franklin as possibilities to MMA Weekly, but told MMAjunkie that Machida prefers a with rematch Rashad Evans for an interim title, with the winner facing Rua in the spring.
After six-straight UFC wins over the likes of Tito Ortiz and Thiago Silva, Machida (16-1) won the title with a second-round KO of Evans in May 2009. In his first title defense, “The Dragon” scored a controversial unanimous decision over Rua in October before decisively losing the rematch at May’s UFC 113.
“He really, truly feels like a complete fighter now,” Soares said of Machida. “He knows what it feels like to win. He knows what it’s like to be a champ, and now he knows what’s it’s like to lose. … I guarantee you, he’s going to come back as the best fighter you’ve ever seen. This has only improved him.”