Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida posted the first two losses of his professional career this year, back-to-back defeats to current champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
The Brazilian karateka was knocked out by Rua at UFC 113 and then lost a somewhat controversial decision to Jackson at UFC 123. Machida had managed to remain undefeated in his sixteen prior professional bouts, though he often took criticism for his decision-prone style en route to putting together that impressive record. In speaking with Tatame.com recently, Machida explained that it is oftentimes necessary to fight more conservatively in order to avoid losses, which he believes tarnish a fighter’s image in the eyes of many fans.
“It’s hard to say… People sometimes want something and it’s not always possible. St. Pierre plays by the rules all the time because he knows that, once you’re losing, nobody wants to know about you anymore,” Machida explained. “It’s great to do a great show, but you can’t do both sometimes. Sometimes you only have two chances of beating that opponent, so it’s best to keep a strategic fight and try to win because the level of the sport is so high. The other guy [isn’t] silly, he’s also trained. I can’t say ‘Ok, let’s begin to exchange and see where it goes.’ We want to give [a] fight and give people a good show, but you have to play on a safety zone. Anderson Silva himself, in some of the fights he’s been doing, he does it to win, because he knows the consequences of the losses. We’re not playing an amateur sport.”
Machida’s most recent loss, to Jackson, was found controversial by many and “Rampage” himself asserted post-fight that he was surprised he took the decision. Regardless, Machida has dropped two in a row and will certainly be looking to turn things around when he returns to action in 2011.
How do you feel about Machida’s assessment that it is sometimes necessary for a fighter to abandon excitement in order to secure a win? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments section.