Dave Meltzer recently sat down with Lyoto Machida who is preparing to face Tito Ortiz this Saturday at UFC 84: Ill Will.
Machida has unwittingly been cast as the vengeance arm of UFC president Dana White in his public war of words with Tito Ortiz. White has stated publicly on many occasions that he holds Ortiz in low regard and he now appears intent on banishing the popular fighter from the UFC after Saturday’s fight, which will be the last one on Ortiz’s current UFC contract. It appears that White, who rarely picks sides would like to send Ortiz packing with a big loss.
“I’ve never wanted to see anybody get their ass kicked worse than I want to see Tito get his kicked on Saturday,” White told members of the media a recent press conference.
The undefeated Machida, for his part, appears to want nothing to do with the drama in assessing his opponent.
“I know there are problems between Dana White and Tito Ortiz,” Machida told Meltzer. “But I have nothing to do with it. That’s their problems. Tito is very, very strong, and has a good ground and pound game, but his other skills are not so efficient. I want to beat him at his strength.”
Machida’s own strengths have been too much for all twelve of the opponents he’s faced thus far in professional MMA competition. This includes an impressive list of wins over Rich Franklin, Stephan Bonnar, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Kazuhiro Nakamura, David Heath and BJ Penn, who Machida holds in high regard.
“At the time, neither of us was very experienced,” Machida said of Penn who he edged via decision back in 2005. “I fought but I congratulate B.J. for stepping up and fighting someone so much bigger.”
Machida knows that beating Ortiz will be key in quest to prove that he’s ready for a shot at the title.
“I’m prepared for a title shot,” he said. “Every fight I get more comfortable. But the UFC and the fans will choose when I get a title shot.”