By the time Lyoto Machida faces Ryan Bader at UFC on FOX 4 it will have been eight months since he last stepped foot inside the Octagon. Rather than sit on the sidelines for health-related or disciplinary reasons, the 33-year old (who celebrates a birthday this month) has simply been forced to wait patiently while the UFC sorts out the 205-pound division.
While “The Dragon” may finally have an adversary to focus on, the extended break was apparently so bothersome he even considered taking a fight at middleweight to speed the process up. However, his management team convinced him to remain calm.
“My objective is to fight at (light heavyweight) but there would be no problem fighting at middleweight. Anderson (Silva) is a friend of mine,” said Machida in an interview with O Globo. “(Middleweight) is his, but I would take a fight to keep me busy. The important thing is to keep fighting. I would fight there, but only with the objective of keeping me busy.”
Now, with Bader in his sights, Machida is ready to prepare for the challenge at hand rather than the adversity created by a drop down in weight-class. In fact, the former champion is looking forward to facing Bader who has been on his radar for some time.
“He is a great athlete. We already met on TUF when I made a visit (as a guest coach for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira). I have respect for him…I am very motivated and willing to fight against any one who is on his level…and he is among the tops,” explained Machida, pointing to Bader’s recent win over Quinton Jackson.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC