UFC

Machida camp: Belfort won’t fight him

Lyoto Machida
Lyoto Machida believes Vitor Belfort won't fight him.
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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Shortly after Lyoto Machida knocked out Mark Munoz at last weekend’s UFC Fight Night event in Manchester, England, UFC president Dana White voiced an interest in seeing Machida fight No. 2 ranked Vitor Belfort in his next matchup.

Machida, who vaulted up to No. 5 in the newest rankings, seemed open to the idea, but it appears now that his camp believes its unlikely to happen.

Machida’s manager Jorge Guimaraes told UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani that he believes Belfort will not take the match due to an unfavorable style matchup.

If that is the case, it will no doubt anger White, who has ripped into Belfort in the past for turning down matchups with Tim Kennedy and Rashad Evans.

“Vitor drives me crazy,” the UFC president said in August, adding that UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta would deal with Belfort going forward.

Dealing with Machida has posed no such issues, and in fact, Machida pleased White by taking a matchup with his friend Munoz, a fight dynamic White has espoused for years.

A former UFC light-heavyweight champion, Machida (20-4) was on the last fight of his contract, and the win over Munoz should set up a lucrative payday as he now factors into the middleweight title picture after winning three of his last four, losing only a close, disputed decision to Phil Davis.

Meanwhile, before Belfort can truly consider Machida, he first has to deal with Dan Henderson at the Nov. 9 UFC Fight Night event in Goiania, Brazil. An author of two consecutive head kick knockouts, Belfort (23-10) is a slight favorite to win the five-round main event.

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