Former light heavyweight title contender Lyoto Machida made his long awaited middleweight debut at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England, on Saturday night and saw immediate results, knocking out good friend Mark Munoz in the opening round.
Machida looked light on his feet as he stalked Munoz around the cage in the opening minutes before he set up the finish, catching Munoz with a kick to the body that he followed up with a left head kick, knocking him out.
“It's very hard for me. I did a diet for one month, very strict diet, but I got it,” Machida said about the weight cut.
The Brazilian stayed at 205 pounds for so long out of respect for teammate and former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, but with Chris Weidman the current champion, it was time for the 35-year-old to make the drop and he looked comfortable in the Octagon.
“I'll stay at 185 (pounds),” Machida revealed. “My bosses Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta, they decide everything. If they ask me to fight at 205 again, I'll do it.”
The victory opens plenty of doors for “The Dragon,” who is now where he belongs, and becomes the bigger guy in the division, which may allow him to be more aggressive in his fights as he now plots his way to a shot at the title, quite possibly in 2014.
“I'm back to my best; I'm back to my real Karate,” Machida said on the UFC Post-Fight Show on Fox Sports 2. “I trained well for this fight. I want to be champion. I want the belt. I have to chase the belt.”
(Follow @AndrewMMA_ on Twitter)