UFC president Dana White laid it out for Lyoto Machida during an appearance on “FOX Sports Live” Wednesday night.
“Yes, if Machida wins, he could possibly be next in line for a title shot,” White said.
Machida takes on Gegard Mousasi next Saturday night in Brazil at UFC Fight Night. The current champion in the middleweight division, Chris Weidman, meets Vitor Belfort later this year.
Of course, Machida has been in this position before. After defeating Ryan Bader in 2012, the former UFC light heavyweight champion appeared set for a rematch with Jon Jones.
Machida (20-4) declared himself not ready to step in on short notice and face Jones, and he was passed over. He returned in 2013 and defeated Dan Henderson via split decision, but lost in August to Phil Davis by decision.
That prompted a move down to 185 pounds for “The Dragon” after seeing his teammate and close friend, Anderson Silva, drop the UFC middleweight title. Machida stopped Mark Munoz in October by knockout in England for his first finish since the Bader bout.