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Lyoto Machida wants to fight Michael Bisping in early 2016

Former UFC light heavyweight champion and current top 10 middleweight Lyoto Machida is eyeing a fight with Michael Bisping for his 2016 debut.

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

When we last saw Lyoto Machida (22-7) in a UFC cage, Yoel Romero bashed his skull in with murderous elbows until John McCarthy stepped in to stop the beating. It was Machida's 2nd straight stoppage defeat on the heels of a lopsided submission loss vs. Luke Rockhold in April. Given his middleweight title fight loss to Chris Weidman and his 0-2 record in 2015, it stands to reason that his title contention days at 185 are pretty much done.

All that said, that doesn't mean "The Dragon" is going to fade away from the background. He's still ranked in the top 10 at 185 lbs, and the 37-year-old is planning to return in early 2016, per Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight. His ideal opponent? Michael Bisping.

Bisping (27-7) is coming off a split decision win over Thales Leites in the UFC Glasgow main event in July. His previous appearance this year was a unanimous decision nod over C.B. Dollaway at UFC 186. With the UFC planning a return to London for the end of February 2016, this definitely could work as a main event, and would be a good measuring stick to determine how far Machida has fallen off and/or if Bisping can get a big win to put him "in the mix" for that elusive title shot.

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