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Lyoto Machida likely to fight winner of Chris Weidman vs Vitor Belfort

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According to a Feb. 6 report from MMA Fighting, hard-hitting Brazilian standout Lyoto Machida will likely earn a middleweight title shot if he beats Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night 36 on Feb. 15 in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.

UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman puts his belt on the line against Vitor Belfort at UFC 173 on May 24, and Machida is in the mix to fight the winner.

"The thing that makes this 185-pound division so interesting and so exciting right now. Obviously, Chris Weidman looked unbelievable in his two fights against Anderson Silva and the new champ," UFC President Dana White said. "But who do we got waiting in the wings now? You've got Vitor Belfort next, you have Jacare Souza, you have Lyoto Machida and the list goes on and on of all these nasty, nasty guys at 185 pounds.

"And let's not forget Anderson Silva could be back in a year and he's the No. 1 ranked [contender] in the world. That division could not be more exciting."

There has been plenty of talk about superfights in recent weeks, as Anthony Pettis called out 145-pound champ Jose Aldo following UFC 169 and Jon Jones talked about fighting Weidman during his question-and-answer session at the UFC 169 pre-fight weigh-ins.

White's comments indicate that the UFC boss is more interested in seeing Weidman remain at middleweight to compete against the next wave of up-and-coming challengers.

Machida, 35, is the former UFC light heavyweight champ, and he would be a tough test for either Weidman or Belfort.

Both matchups would also be appealing to UFC fans. Machida vs Belfort could easily sell out a stadium in Brazil, as both men are among the best from that part of the world.

Machida vs Weidman would be a hot ticket just about anywhere in the world, but that fight would likely happen in the United States.

Weidman fights Belfort on May 24, so the winner could possibly headline an end-of-year show in December.

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