Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida lost his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua this past May via first round knockout. That defeat marked Machida’s first as a professional, and the Belem, Brazil native will be looking to rebound from that loss and fight his way back to the title this Saturday night when he takes on fellow former champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the main event of UFC 123.
“I believe whoever wins this fight is going to be shot up to the top of the ladder in the 205lbs. division,” Machida said in a recently released promo for the fight. “I believe that person is me. I hope I can do enough to prove that I’m back in for the title shot, or fight again and then fight for the title.”
Jackson recently asserted that he is fighting for honor instead of money this time around and Machida revealed a shared sentiment in that he is looking to prove to himself and everyone watching that he belongs in the UFC at the top level of the sport.
“In every fight you have to prove why you are there. You have to prove something that tells the people and even tells yourself why you are in there and why you deserve to be in there,” he said. “This is no different, I have to prove to myself and to my fans why I’m still in there.”
The two former champions may be coming off of defeats but are both still widely considered to be among the best fighters in the world at 205lbs. Machida believes that their respective statuses and styles will make for a very exciting fight, the result of which he believes is far from a foregone conclusion.
“There is a lot that can be said until the gates of the Octagon lock,” Machida said. “Once the gate is locked anything can happen. We are equals in there, no one has an advantage, and we are really going to see who is the best in the cage.”
UFC 123 goes down this Saturday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan and will also feature the much-anticipated rubber match between former welterweight champions Matt Hughes and BJ Penn.