(Let me guess: Liquid diet?)
Lyoto Machida had a damn good run at light-heavyweight. The hard-to-touch karate fighter spent a year as the UFC’s 205-pound champion in 2009-2010, and has earned victories against Dan Henderson, Randy Couture, Rashad Evans, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Tito Ortiz, Ryan Bader, and Thiago Silva. If you’re keeping score, that’s five former world-champions, a TUF winner, and a weed-puffin’ juice-monkey. What other active LHW can claim that kind of resume, outside of Jon Jones himself?
But following a loss to Phil Davis earlier this month — which he blamed on Davis running away from him during the fight, oh irony of ironies — Machida will officially be testing the waters in a new weight class. UFC president Dana White announced last night on FOX Sports Live that Machida will be making the drop to middleweight, and will face Tim Kennedy in the main event of Fight for the Troops 3, November 6th at Fort Campbell in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Kennedy is on a two-fight win streak, most recently getting Roger Gracie fired at UFC 162, and will surely be the recipient of some totally-acceptable “USA!” chants during the match.
For Machida, the drop in weight is a logical step and long overdue. “The Dragon” has often showed up to weigh-ins under the 205-pound limit, most notably coming in four pounds under for his August 2012 fight against Ryan Bader, and three pounds under for his subsequent fight against Dan Henderson. In terms of height and reach, he’s not too much different from Nick Diaz, who he was rumored to fight until the UFC realized it was a bad idea. Fighting smaller opponents at 185 could jump-start Machida’s career, and put him on a new path to a title — as long as his longtime friend Anderson Silva doesn’t get in the way.
At this point, the only other match booked for Fight for the Troops 3 is the lightweight scrap between Jorge Masvidal and Rustam Khabilov. The two previous installments of Fight for the Troops helped raise over $8 million for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.