Micheal David Smith thinks so:
For starters -- and I think this is important -- Machida is clearly working hard at learning English. Check out the above video, and you can see him shouting to the crowd in English after his UFC 94 win over Thiago Silva, and doing the same kind of hyping of the Evans fight to the camera that other fighters do:
I have to agree in that Machida is becoming more marketable. It's basically because of three reasons, and Smith touches on one of them:
- Machida's English is improving
- Machida is fighting more established fighters now
- Machida has shown the ability to finish his opponent in 2 out of his last 3 fights.
The crowd response to Machida asking about a title shot was much better than I anticipated. However, it was probably moreso to do with the fact that he had just put Thiago Silva away impressively and the crowd fed off of that. The other thing was that he asked the crowd in English. Has he spoken in his native language and relied on Ed Soares to translate, I gurantee you that the crowd would not have responded the way they did. If Machida does beat Rashad Evans(he won't), then maybe having him as the champion will not be that bad after all?