Former light-heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida was admittedly surprised to receive a shot at UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman after competing only twice at the weight division so far.
“It was a surprise for me. I wasn’t expecting that,” Machida told MMA Fighting. “I thought I would fight around June or July, and got this news.”
Machida moved to middleweight and promptly defeated contenders Mark Muñoz and Gegard Mousasi in impressive fashion, and is now being given a shot at Weidman.
“The Dragon” has Vitor Belfort to thank for his title shot, as the Brazilian was supposed to be Weidman’s opponent for May 24 but had to withdraw.
Weidman will be the favorite for the fight as he is coming off back-to-back victories over the legendary Anderson Silva, but Machida is confident that he can more than keep up with the young champion.
“I’ve fought a lot of wrestlers before, and I know Weidman has good wrestling, but I’m confident on the work I’m developing with my team,” he said.
“I believe in my striking game against Weidman’s wrestling. He’s complete in every aspect of the game, but I’m confident in what I do,” he added.
If he beats Weidman, Machida will join BJ Penn and Randy Couture as the only fighters in UFC history to win titles in different weight divisions, but this is not the fighter's mind.
“Records and numbers are cool. Everybody wants that,” said Machida. “But I try not to think about that.”