Former UFC light heavyweight champions Lyoto Machida and Randy Couture will face off this weekend on the main card of UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields. Despite the fact that Couture — a UFC Hall of Famer — is 47-years-old, UFC president Dana White believes that “The Natural” still has what it takes to give the Brazilian karate expert a run for his money.
“Here’s the thing, you know, I think a lot of people, again, have written Randy Couture off. I haven’t,” White said during a recent appearance on Yahoo! Sports’ Fight Day. “I’ve been saying for a long time now, I still consider Randy Couture one of the top ten light heavyweights in the world. And I think that Machida is going to have problems with Couture. I don’t think Machida is going to go in there and just walk through and destroy Randy Couture. I think it’s going to be a tough fight. I think Randy Couture always takes his fights serious, he’s always in great shape, he’s always healthy and he always comes up with great gameplans — and I’m sure he’s got one for Machida.”
Once considered near untouchable inside the cage, Machida has lost a bit of luster in some peoples’ eyes as a result of posting two losses in a row: one a title-relinquishing TKO against Mauricio Rua and the second, which came in his most recent bout, a split decision defeat to another former champ in Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
White explained that he still sees Machida’s style as an effective one regardless of his recent losses, but that the Brazilian suffers when laying off the aggression.
“I don’t think (Machida’s style has been figured out). I think his style has kind of backfired on him a little bit,” he said. “The thing that, the style that, got him all those wins all these years is kind of backfiring on him now. I don’t think people figured it out but he lays back a little too much and doesn’t… you know, when he’s aggressive, I mean, we’ve seen what he looks like when he’s aggressive — Thiago Silva. You know, Thiago Silva’s a tough guy who will stand up with you, go to the ground, whatever it is and we saw what happened there. I think he needs to be more aggressive and come forward. He’s definitely going to have to be that way with Couture. Because Couture’s going to be right in his face the whole fight.”
UFC 129 goes down Saturday night at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Don’t forget to check back on FightLine.com for our live, ongoing coverage of the event.