Lyoto Machida will be moving to middleweight to face Tim Kennedy at UFC Fight for the Troops 3.
The announcement comes just days after UFC president Dana White changed his mind about Machida facing Nick Diaz in a middleweight match. Diaz had previously hinted at retirement after losing to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158 in March, but later changed his mind after breaking up with his girlfriend. White said he was willing to give Diaz a fight whenever he was ready, and offered him a match against Machida.
Both men had been talking about dropping to 185 — a weight neither of them has ever fought at — but White said the fight had been taken off the table because there were “other things going on with Diaz.”
At an appearance on Fox Sports Live, White announced that the former light heavyweight champion would face Strikeforce transplant Tim Kennedy in the main event of Fight for the Troops in November.
“One thing that we haven’t announced yet that I’ll announce tonight is Lyoto Machida is moving down to middleweight,” White said. “He’s going to face Tim Kennedy in the next Fight for the Troops, which will be on Fox Sports 1.”
The event is actually the fourth time the UFC has held an event for the troops. The first, which was held at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in December 2006, wasn’t called Fight for the Troops, it was called UFC Fight Night: Sanchez vs. Riggs. It was also the first time a UFC event had been held on a military base. The second event was held in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in December 2008; the third (numbered Fight for the Troops 2) was held in January 2011 in Fort Hood, Texas.
Tim Kennedy is one of the few UFC fighters to serve in the United States Army while fighting professionally. He won his UFC debut against Roger Gracie at UFC 162 in July by unanimous decision, bumping his MMA record to 16-4 over the course of his 12 year career. At 19-4, Lyoto Machida enters the match coming off a unanimous decision loss to Phil Davis at UFC 163 on August 3.
UFC Fight for the Troops will be held November 6 in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
[Pictured: Lyoto Machida; photo credit: Marcos Joel Reis/Flickr]