Lyoto Machida was once where current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is, as it was UFC announcer Joe Rogan who proclaimed the start of the “Machida era” after “The Dragon” won the title by knocking out Rashad Evans.
However, that wasn’t mean to be, as he survived a grueling five-round war with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to retain his title, but was placed in an immediate rematch with Rua due to the nature of the close decision. Rua won the rematch, and Machida subsequently suffered a second career loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Now, after defeating Randy Couture at UFC 129 earlier this year, Machida gets his chance to regain his title when he meets Jones at UFC 140 in Toronto in December. Machida is taking the place of Rashad Evans, who could not accept the fight due to a hand injury.
“It’ll be a strategic bout, he’s a guy who studies his opponents and so do I,” said Machida, in an interview with Tatame.com. “He is much versatile and knows a lot of techniques, but we play a similar game. Nobody is invincible. We’re training for the best, looking for enlarging our body and mind and that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Machida won his first 16 professional fights, including back-to-back knockouts of Evans and Thiago Silva. Many felt he lost to Rua in the first meeting, thus the rematch was granted. “Shogun” won that bout via knockout in the first round, and Jackson claimed a split decision. Machida’s jumping front kick KO of Couture, however, tossed him right back into contention at 205 pounds.
“I’m already 100%,” Machida said. “I’ll focus my camp here (in Brazil) and I’ll look for sparring who can come here and will be as tough as Jon Jones.”
UFC 140 takes place December 10 from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.