Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida was once considered unbeatable, his karate-infused style making for a riddle which his first fifteen opponents were unable to decipher.
Though he lost some of his luster in bouts against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, his remarkable recent Crane kick knockout of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture reminded many why Machida’s ascension to the light heavyweight throne was seen as the beginning of an era of dominance for the Brazilian.
The first man to truly solve the Machida puzzle, “Shogun” Rua spoke recently to Tatame.com about Machida’s highlight-reel finish of Couture and revealed that he expects to face his fellow countryman once again somewhere down the line.
“I thought he was going to defeat Randy Couture,” said the recently dethroned champion. “It really was a beautiful kick, but I knew he’d win. Lyoto absolutely is a guy I might have to fight again someday, and I believe I will. I don’t know when, but it’ll happen. Of course I’ll want to beat him, but we’re professionals. He’s great character, he has a good heart, so he’s a guy I admire a lot.”
Machida and Rua have fought twice, contesting Machida’s title on both occasions. Their first meeting went the distance, with the verdict being eventually — and controversially — rendered in Machida’s favor. The second time around, Rua left no doubt in anyone’s mind as to who the rightful victor was, as he knocked out “The Dragon” in the first round.
Rua recently lost the title to Jon “Bones” Jones via third round TKO.