Lyoto Machida hints at impending Anderson Silva retirement
*Bit of a misleading title.
"We are friends, but it's too early to think about that," Machida (19-4 MMA, 11-4 UFC) said prior to Saturday's UFC Fight Night 30 headliner. "I'm just arriving in this class, and I have to keep my focus on this fight."
The ex-light heavyweight champ believes he'll at the very least grab the No. 5 spot in the middleweight division if he's able to beat Mark Munoz (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) at Saturday's FOX Sports 2-televised event, which takes place at Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England. Beyond that, he's not sure what will happen.
"I don't know about the future," Machida said. "That's why I say to everybody, I'm just arriving. It's hard to say about a title shot. Everybody is asking about it, but I prefer not to talk about it."
Silva, of course, is trying to get back the top spot after Chris Weidman knocked him out three months ago. At December's UFC 168 event, the two rematch to see whether the first bout was a fluke.
Machida, who originally was slated to fight Tim Kennedy at UFC Fight Night 31 before being called as an injury replacement, said he has no problem fighting Munoz, with whom he frequently trained four years ago in Southern California. When it comes to fighting Silva, however, he's far more cautious.
Earlier this month, Silva said he would retire before being forced to face Machida. (Machida also previously said he didn't want to fight "The Spider.") But there's now a practical reason why the two wouldn't fight, according to Machida.
"I don't know how long he's going to fight," he said. "That's why I don't think about that."
Machida said he likely would have dropped to 185 pounds whether or not he'd lost a close decision to Phil Davis at UFC 163. He said Silva's defeat to Weidman had nothing to do with his decision to change weight classes.
"I just dropped down because I was going to fight against (Jon) Jones, and that couldn't happen," Machida told MMAjunkie.com. "The UFC gave me an opportunity to fight at 185. I want to stay active."
Despite Machida earning No. 1 contender status on two separate occasions, first by knocking out Ryan Bader and then by outpointing Dan Henderson, light-heavyweight champ Jones nixed a rematch with "The Dragon." Rather than wait for Jones to change his mind, Machida chose to fight, and he lost to Davis.
Now, he's taking the opportunity given to him by the UFC. Although it comes attached to a professional relationship, he plans to make the best of the situation.
"I have no problem with me and him," Machida said. "Mark Munoz is a great guy. We are friends, but we are professionals, too. I think this fight can show the world that friends can fight each other, but with a lot of respect, and (they) will put a great performance on. It's not a problem."