I felt good, he told I thought it was going to be more difficult, but it involved quiet, diet and dehydration. It all worked. Ive been training well around the weight. Im not that heavy, either, so I dont feel it much.

Machida sees plenty of advantages in fighting as a middleweight.

I think in the other division the guys were bigger than me physically, he said. At middleweight, I started to find an ideal weight for me. I face guys my size, my height and with my physique. Another advantage is that Im not hitting light heavyweights. Im now beating on middleweights, and Im guessing a lighter opponent would feel the blows more.

Machida -- who has compiled a 12-4 record in the UFC -- admits it was difficult fighting Munoz, a friend with whom he has trained extensively in the past.

Separating your profession from friendship is very difficult, he said. In Marks case, he thinks like me. We fought and went out to dinner afterwards, without any issues. We have the same goals, but only one of us can occupy that space at a time. We fought because we had an agreement: to fight and then congratulate whoever won. If one of us had not agreed to that, the fought would not have happened.

Machida recognizes a similar possibility exists with longtime friend Anderson Silva, who will look to recapture the middleweight championship when he confronts Chris Weidman in a rematch at UFC 168 in December.

I dont want this fight, Machida said. Were close, and we have the same manager. Hes fighting for the belt, and Im still far from it. Its hard to talk about it now. I dont know if we will cross paths one day. Lets let things happen and decide what to do. You have to be prepared to face to situation. You have to talk about it.

Machidas arrival, along with the presence of Brazilian countrymen Silva, Ronaldo Souza and Vitor Belfort, has reinvigorated the middleweight division.

Yeah, its getting hot, Machida said with a laugh. I like to be in divisions like that, and its good to have so many Brazilians highly ranked.