Though far from official, an extremely interesting rumble is in the preliminary stages of becoming reality, as it appears UFC stars Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida could clash UFC 167. If booked, the bout would serve as the show’s co-headliner.
SporTV was first to report the still-developing scrap with UFC Tonight providing confirmation in terms of the targeted event.
The pairing would presumably take place at light heavyweight, Machida’s regular division, as Belfort has stated in the past he is not willing to risk his status as top middleweight contender while waiting for Chris Weidman-Anderson Silva to sort their differences out at UFC 168. However, UFC President Dana White has said he would prefer Machida to drop down to 185 pounds for the fight and “The Dragon” has agreed to do so if necessary.
Adding intrigue, Machida’s interest in battling Belfort is personal and goes back to UFC 152 when “The Phenom” wore a shirt poking fun at his Brazilian countryman’s reputation for running in the ring. On paper the pairing certainly looks good as well. Both fighters are former UFC champions with Machida boasting a 19-4 mark and Belfort’s record standing at 23-10. Each has also beaten a number of elite adversaries in the past with their combined list featuring the likes of Michael Bisping, Randy Couture, Mauricio Rua, Rashad Evans, Rich Franklin, and Dan Henderson.
UFC 167 is set to unfold in Las Vegas on November 16. The evening’s main event will pit welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre against hard-hitting grappler Johny Hendricks.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports