It’s been a tough day for UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Despite defeating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via unanimous decision at UFC 104 last night, the majority of fans and fighters feel that Shogun should be the new champion. Nevertheless, “The Dragon” stated during the UFC 104 post-fight press conference that he is looking on to his next challenge.
“It’s just about looking at the fight, getting better and I’m on to my next challenge,” Machida stated.
It’s been an interesting turn of events. Machida was widely regarded as unbeatable since winning the title from Rashad Evans this past summer, and received a hero’s ovation when he entered the octagon last night. By the end of the fight, the crowd was solidly behind the challenger. When comparing the two nights, he simply noted, “Every fight’s different, Rashad’s fight is done and over with, tonight’s fight is done and over with.”
The challenger spent much of the five rounds punishing the champion with kicks to his body and legs, leaving noticeable welts on Machida’s chest. Machida admitted that the kicks left an impact.
“I didn’t really feel too much on my rib cage,” he explained. “But the legs, it definitely was bothering me.”
UFC President Dana White, who felt that Shogun won the fight, was critical of both fighters for not doing more during the end of the rounds.
“They should have pressed more at the end of the rounds and went after it and really try to pull out a win at the end of the rounds and make it an easier fight to score,” White said. “It was a tough fight to score.”
Machida explained that not pressing the action in the later rounds was part of his strategy.
“I thought about maybe saving myself a little in the fourth round, just in case it went to the fifth, to have strength to explode in the fifth,” he explained. “It was a tough fight, I was looking to finish the fight whenever I could, it showed that Shogun came very well prepared for this fight. But I was constantly trying to find openings to finish the fight, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any opportunities to do that.”
Machida said that his training partner, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, and his father pointed out some errors that he had made during the fight.
“We’re always learning and I’ve already been corrected in the back by my father and by Anderson [Silva],” he explained. “He came to me and told me some of the things I was doing wrong. It’s a learning experience, and I’ll apply it to my next fight.”
Despite winning the fight, Machida finds himself having to defend his victory. Machida may not have to wait long to redeem his victory, as White noted at the press conference that both Machida and Shogun had agreed to a rematch.
“Of course, if the UFC decides that we should have a rematch, then let’s have a rematch,” he stated. “It’s not always that you can please everybody. The only thing that I can promise is that my next fight, my next performance, I’ll be able to put on a much better performance and make people happy.
“The fight is in the past now, I just wanna go back and take what I learned from this fight,” he concluded. “You’re going to see a different fighter the next time I come out.”