RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Well, depending on what happens with Rashad Evans and Phil Davis, I think Rampage Jackson is a pretty easy call here.� The winner of Forrest Griffin vs. Shogun Rua would be another choice, but they aren't fighting each other until late August, so the timing doesn't work.� Assuming that Rampage wins over Matt Hamill, I wouldn't be surprised to see Rampage vs. Machida 2 this fall, either in Houston or in Denver.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
With Machida's win over Couture now in the books, Machida seems to be in a sort of stalemate as far as his next opponent goes.� The best light-heavyweights above or at Machida's level are all locked up for upcoming fights, and it would be a disservice (though, also a good test) of Machida to go down, rank-wise, and fight a lower fighter.� He should be fighting the best, and right now they are all locked up.� I'd say either a rematch against Rampage Jackson if he gets past Matt Hammill or Ryan Bader if he gets past Tito Ortiz.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think a fight with Forrest Griffin or Ryan Bader would be a great tune up fight. This one is a tough one because he has beat so many of the top fighters already.� It is not out of the realm of possibility that one more win and the UFC gives him another title shot.�
GRIFFIN MARSH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think Lyoto should face Rashad Evans in a number one contender's match. After that last fight, Lyoto really shut a lot of people up.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think a good fight for Machida next would be the winner of Matt Hamill vs. Quinton Jackson or the winner of Ryan Bader vs. Tito Ortiz.� Mauricio Rua is fighting Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans is fighting Phil Davis next. Most of the upper level guys have fights upcoming so there's not a lot of places for Machida to go. I think a fight against one of the winners of those fights makes the most sense right now.
MATT PELKEY, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
This is kind of a tough call. He's obviously behind both Rashad and Rampage in the title picture pecking order,�yet Jon Jones is the only high-level 205er he's yet to face. I'd be ok with a Machida-Rampage rematch after Rampage gets past Matt Hamill, but other than that, not a lot makes sense for Machida. Maybe Phil Davis if he can pull off the upset over Rashad? Maybe a rematch with Rich Franklin�if he can get past Lil Nog? Shogun-Griffin is too far out to wait for the winner. My guess is Machida waits around while some of the big�scheduled light-heavweight fights sort themselves out and ends up�rematching Rampage with a title shot on the line. �
JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
I'm on board for a rematch with Rampage Jackson should he defeat Matt Hamill this month, but a fight with Ryan Bader should Bader defeat Tito Ortiz would work as well. The top light heavyweights are all booked right now, so it's a matter of which fighter comes out injury-free and ready to go early in the fall, otherwise he's just going to be on the sidelines for too long. I think the Rampage fight is the most likely one we'd see at this moment, but Rampage still has to get past Hamill to set that up. If Hamill pulls off the upset, then it's an easy call to plug him in against Machida this fall in Rampage's place. Machida's still probably two wins away from getting a return crack at his title, but after the knockout of Randy Couture, those next couple of fights will be highly anticipated.
[Lyoto Machida art by Cory Gould (c) MMATorch.com]