Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida will this Saturday night attempt to claim the first victory on his road back to the title. Machida takes on fellow former 205-pound champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the main event of UFC 123 and the Belem, Brazil native recently told MMAJunkie.com that he will enter this bout with a much clearer mind than his last, in which he lost his championship title.
“Part of this game is that you win some and you lose some,” Machida said. “(But) I felt that there was a lot of pressure on my back because many of the fans had this aura of me being the undefeated champion. I knew one day I could lose like everyone else. Now I feel like I’ve learned a lot from that loss and it’s taken a lot of pressure off my back.”
Just because Machida is carrying a lighter load does not mean he feels no pressure at all; he told MMAJunkie.com that pressure is a near-constant companion to fighters at the top levels of the sport.
“The reality is, there’s pressure every time you step into a fight,” Machida said. “Regardless of what stage of your career you’re in, there’s always pressure.”
Taking on a respected and dangerous former champion like “Rampage” in a bout that will put the winner very close to a title shot (if not grant one to him outright) is certainly cause for pressure. Machida believes he has prepared himself fully for the challenge that Jackson presents, and he is looking forward to an exciting fight brought about by their respective styles.
“It’s a great matchup of styles,” Machida said. “‘Rampage’ is known to be aggressive, and I like to stand up. Put those two styles together, and it’s a good match.”
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