Former UFC light heavyweight champ Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida rebounded from a two-fight losing streak this weekend at UFC 129 by kicking MMA legend Randy Couture’s head into the nosebleed section of the packed Rogers Centre.
In the second round of their fight, Machida fired off a crane kick that would make Ralph Macchio jealous, knocking “The Natural” out cold. Machida admitted at the post-fight presser that he was motivated to get the spectacular finish by the pressure he felt for having lost two in a row.
“I did feel a lot of pressure because I was coming off back-to-back losses,” Machida told the gathered media after uFC 129. “I was very anxious and wanted to get in there to show the best Lyoto Machida the world has seen.”
Perhaps the strangest thing about Machida’s highlight-reel finish is that he credits Steven Seagal for helping him perfect the fight-ending kick — a kick that was very similar to the one his teammate Anderson Silva used to dispatch of Vitor Belfort in February and also credited to Seagal.
“I train this kick a lot,” said the karateka. “I’ve had it in my arsenal, and I just had to wait for the right moment to pull the trigger and utilize it. The technique itself we’ve both known for a long time. But I definitely think Steven Seagal being involved and influencing us and helping us perfect the kick definitely made a difference. He always reinforced that to me -– to try that kick. ‘That kick will land, and it will work.’ I definitely give credit to him for helping me perfect that kick.”
In addition to consulting Seagal — which more fighters apparently need to do — Machida explained that he also made minor changes in the rest of his training camp to ensure his victory.
“The training was pretty much the same, but we did hire some different people to add on to our team,” Machida said. “We brought in a nutritionist, a different coach to help out in different areas. The training was pretty much the same, but I did adapt and make some changes to it. The main changes were to my strength and conditioning. I made a lot of changes there and also to my karate. I went back and trained a lot of karate that brought me to where I am today.”
Machida improved his record to 17-2 with the win and now holds the distinction of being Randy Couture’s last opponent in a mixed martial arts contest, as the 47-year-old has now retired from the sport.