When Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida ascended to the UFC light heavyweight throne, his dominant run to get there inspired UFC color commentator Joe Rogan to declare it the beginning of “The Machida Era.”
That era and Machida’s aura of invincibility lost their luster pretty quickly though, as “The Dragon’s” first title defense was made via controversial decision over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. When the two Brazilians met for an immediate rematch, “Shogun” put Machida away with a first round knockout, stealing the title in the process. In Machida’s most recent bout — the first since his knockout to Rua — Machida went up against fellow former champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and lost his own controversial decision.
Though many believe that Machida deserved the nod in that fight, the karateka is still in a position where he needs to get a win in his next outing. That won’t be an easy task by any means, considering that he is scheduled to take on another former champ and UFC Hall of Famer in Randy “The Natural” Couture this weekend at UFC 129. Machida has his work cut out for him, no doubt, but during a recent appearance on ESPN MMA Live, UFC president Dana White explained why he thinks we will see a vintage performance from Machida on Saturday night.
“This is what I think happened: a guy goes through his entire career, he’s got this incredible elusive style, nobody can figure him out, he’s explosive, got knockout power, but then once you start making a lot of money, it starts messing with your head and you start doing things differently,” White said. “I think if Machida comes out like the old Machida, I think he can beat anybody in the world.”
UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields goes down this weekend at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Don’t forget to check back on FightLine.com to catch our live, ongoing coverage of the event, prelims and all.