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Sunday, February 24, 2013
Lyoto Machida won't drop in weight

By Brett Okamoto
ESPN.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Newly minted No. 1 light heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida says he will shelf any plans of a potential drop to the middleweight division for now.

Following a split-decision win over Dan Henderson at UFC 157 on Saturday, UFC president Dana White confirmed Machida's spot at the top of the division.

"It wasn't the most exciting fight I've ever seen, but Lyoto won the fight," White said. "He just beat the No. 1 contender, which would make him the No. 1 contender."

Machida (19-3) narrowly edged Henderson in the night's co-main event. The former champion had acknowledged before the fight he harbors interest in a move to the 185-pound division. But given White's comments, Machida plans to stay at 205.

"Now, with this opportunity, I want to stay at 205," Machida said. "I want to fight for the belt."

The Brazilian last fought for the belt at UFC 140, losing via second-round submission to current champion Jon Jones. Jones is scheduled to make his fifth title defense against Chael Sonnen on April 27.

When asked what would happen if light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson turns in a strong performance against Gegard Mousasi in April, White was somewhat vague but leaned mostly toward Machida maintaining the spot.

"We're a little backed up right now," White said regarding the 205-pound title picture. "Jones will fight that fight, then fight Machida and then we'll see who's next."

Henderson (29-9), who had been scheduled to fight Jones in September but withdrew because of injury, blamed himself for coming up short against Machida. Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Machida; the third 29-28 for Henderson.

"In my mind, I thought I did enough to win the fight, but it was my fault," Henderson said. "I don't place the blame on the judges. I should have been more aggressive.

"I needed to stay in his face, cut him off a little better and make him fight. He did a good job of not fighting -- picking and choosing when he threw strikes."