Undefeated UFC Light-HEavyweight Champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida will soon have to prove that the 205lbs. crown truly belongs to him. Machida is a little over a week away from participating in one of the most anticipated rematches in MMA history. At UFC 104 Machida fought challenger Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for a hard five rounds that many thought the majority of went to Rua. Instead of announcing a new Light-Heavyweight Champion, Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer informed the world that the judges saw Machida as being the clear cut winner. Looking to bury the controversy surrounding that victory and all questions pertaining to the validity of his title, Lyoto Machida spoke with media through translator Ed Soares on Tuesday during the UFC 113 conference call about the impending rematch and his feelings on the first fight.
Rua gave Machida the fight of his life and Machida will not hesitate to admit that fact. He believes that having gone five rounds with each other previously will only make this next fight better and more entertaining.
“We’re both a lot more familiar with each other than we were the first time we met,” Machida said. “So I think it just makes all that much greater for a better fight this time around.”
Some who argue that Machida did, in fact, defeat Rua use the outdated logic that “a challenger has to definitively beat a champion to take his belt.” Machida does not buy into that and believes that each fight should be judged objectively.
“The way I feel is I think it has to be fair,” Machida said. “I don’t believe that the challenger has to come in and really take the belt from the champion. I think it needs to be judged the way it is, round for round.”
The bout against Rua marked the first time that “The Dragon” had fought for a full five rounds. Having passed that trial by fire only gives Machida more confidence heading into this next five-round championship fight.
“I believe that, you know, one of the main things about a championship bout is that you do go five rounds,” he said. “And we’ve trained that a lot. It does make me feel – I’m always confident, but it does make me feel confident that I went in there and fought for five rounds.”
Whether you saw the fight for Machida or Rua the fact of the matter is that the two men are very evenly matched and have styles that do not grant either an easy victory. Machida will definitely have his work cut out for him come May 8th; a Rua who feels slighted and that believes he has something to prove is a nightmare opponent for any light-heavyweight.