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.
“People should be excited to watch two ex-champions of the UFC fighting each other, to find their place back in the title picture in the 205lbs division,” Machida recently stated.
Despite only recently losing his undefeated streak, Machida feels he has a lot to prove when he faces Rampage.
“In every fight, you have to prove why you are there. You have to prove something that tells people, and even tells yourself, why you are in there and why you deserve to be there,” said Machida. “This is no different. I have to prove to myself and to my fans why I am still in there.”
As he is known 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.
“There is a lot that can be said until the gates of the Octagon lock. Once the gate is locked, anything can happen,” Machida stated. “We are equals in there, no one has an advantage, and we are really going to see who the best in the cage is.”
Machida is well aware of the fact that his opponent is a high-echelon light heavyweight fighter, and knows the ramifications of coming out of the fight with his hand raised.
“I hope I do enough to prove that I’m back for the title shot, or fight again then fight for the title,” he said. “I believe whoever is going to win this fight will shoot up the ladder in the 205-pound division. I believe that person is me.”
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.