As Lyoto Machida prepares to throw down with CB Dollaway at UFC Fight Night 58, the fighter’s belief in his abilities to become middleweight champ, remain as strong as ever.

After all, Machida may have been decisioned by the champion Chris Weidman in July, but the former light-heavyweight champ definitely pushed the latter, particularly in the later rounds. As a result, the 36 year-old is hoping to take out Dollaway tomorrow night, and continue his pursuit of the middleweight title. As Machida recently relayed to FOX Sports:

“I definitely think I’m the guy that can beat Chris Weidman,” Machida said.  “Not only Chris Weidman, but anyone in this division I can go up against and be superior. I’m looking forward to this fight now, but I definitely believe I could excel against Chris Weidman.”

There are several, key match-ups booked at 185 in the coming months, including of course the February 28th scrap between Weidman and Vitor Belfort. On that same night Yoel Romero will battle “Jacare” Souza, and there’s also the January 31st scrap between Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz. The only top five contender who’s not booked for a bout right now is Luke Rockhold.

So, if Machida can take out Dollaway on Saturday night, then “The Dragon” could be a big win or two away from securing another title shot…Depending on how everything shakes out of course.

“I believe so,” Machida said, when asked if he could work his back to a title fight by the end of next year. “I don’t think it’s very far at all.”

Up first, however, is Dollaway, and while its tempting to attach the tired, wrestler vs. striker narrative to the bout, that glosses over the improvements he’s made to his striking game. Now, does Machida have the advantage on the feet? Quite likely, but chances are Dollaway won’t be scrambling left, right and center to take Machida down. Of course, many others have tried that and failed miserably any ways.

If you’re wondering, Machida is a big time, favorite to win this on the betting lines, as the odds have him at -600 to -700.

UFC FN 58 will go down in Barueri, Brazil and will also feature former bantamweight champ Renan Barao taking on Mitch Gagnon.