If Lyoto Machida defeats Bellator’s former middleweight champ Gegard Mousasi on Saturday, obviously, a shot at the 185 title would make sense. But, due to his history with light-heavyweight champ, Ryan Bader, Machida’s hoping that a crack at the 205 title could also materialize.

Machida’s Bellator run to date

Following Machida’s knockout win over Vitor Belfort at UFC 224 last May, the Brazilian star surprised many throughout MMA by signing with Bellator. The former UFC light-heavyweight champ made his Bellator debut in December, and he worked his way to a split decision win over former 185 champ, Rafael Carvalho. Then this past June, Machida took out Chael Sonnen in highlight reel fashion at Bellator 222.

Machida – Mousasi II

Well, this Saturday at Bellator 228 in Inglewood, Machida will face Mousasi for a second time. The two battled before in 2014 under the UFC banner, and Machida emerged with a decision win. On Saturday, Mousasi will be fighting for the first time since June, when he lost the 185 title to Rafael Lovato Jr. by decision.

Recently Machida spoke with MMA Fighting, and while doing so he revealed he could have waited to face Lovato Jr., but he elected to face Mousasi.

“I imagined that (a title shot) would come earlier, after my first win, but I choose to look it a different way,” Machida said. “Every fight is a new experience for me, it will only make me stronger and better prepared to get to my goal, which is the belt. It’s not a bad thing for me, it’s actually good. I like to stay active.

“In fact, Lovato couldn’t fight sooner, looks like he’s injured, and I wanted to stay active. I won’t wait for a moment. No, I’ll prepare for my moment with every fight I take.”

And while talking about what could come next, after taking on Mousasi this Saturday, the 41-year-old said this:

“I had in mind that I would fight for the 185-pound title first, which is the weight class I’m fighting more frequently over the past few years, but there’s this history with Bader,” said Machida, who took out Bader in highlight reel fashion back in 2012. “Ryan Bader being the light heavyweight champion opens the door for this chance for the light heavyweight belt.

“I want to become Bellator champion, I want this opportunity. My priority now is to fight Mousasi and then go after the belt, doesn’t matter if it’s against Lovato or Ryan Bader.”

When you consider what Machida has done throughout his career and the fanbase he has, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if Bellator gave him a shot at the light-heavyweight title. Especially since Bader is also a big-name fighter and there’s an interesting story line there Bellator can work with.

First things first, however, and that’s getting past the always tough Mousasi.

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