Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida will take the first step on his journey back to the belt (which he lost to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via knockout in May) later this month against fellow former champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Speaking with Tatame.com, Machida discussed how his preparations for Jackson are going and what he expects come fight night.
“I’m ready in every single aspect, on the stand-up game, on the takedowns and on the ground game,” Machida said. “We trust our strong point, which is the Karate, but if we need I’ll try to take him down and work on the floor… Quinton Jackson will always want to exchange.”
Machida is well aware of the fact that his opponent is a high-echelon light heavyweight fighter, and he told Tatame that he is preparing himself in all areas in order to be fully ready to take on a fighter of “Rampage’s” caliber.
“Well, I always think for a MMA fight, despite the specialties of each fighter, you have to be prepared for anything, because we can never know what the guy is up to,” Machida said. “… I think that, just as I’m prepared for anything during the fight, so are they: the stand-up game, the takedowns and the ground game. Of course we have our game plan set, our strong point is Karate and the exchanges, but if we need to use the other skills, we will do the takedowns and the ground game that I train…”
As he is wont to do, Jackson has made a few less-than-flattering public statements concerning Machida, but “The Dragon” isn’t interested in fostering a grudge and isn’t taking it personal. He is focusing on the threat that his opponent presents and nothing else.
“No, I think that each one has their own way of thinking; I think Quinton is a great fighter, I respect him, he always does his game and I try to do mine and keep improving so I can please the audience and the fans all around the world because it’s a part of MMA,” he said. “We have to win and please the public and the fans that cheer for you, you can’t do things on your own.”
Machida and Jackson will do their part to clear up the light heavyweight title picture on the 20th of this month at UFC 123, which is going down at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Most online betting sites have pegged Machida as a heavy favorite.
Who do you have winning the Machida-Jackson bout and what other match ups from UFC 123 are you looking forward to? Sound off in the comments sections below.