At UFC 175, No. 3 middleweight contender Lyoto Machida will attempt to strip the championship title away from the division’s reigning champion, Chris Weidman. With the win, the Brazilian would set himself up to become the third mixed martial artist in UFC history to acquire a belt from two separate divisions. However, Machida’s opportunity to wrest the title away from Weidman does not come without its own set of challenges.
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Weidman is a NCAA Division I All-American wrestler who has transitioned well into the world of MMA. He is currently undefeated and is a well-rounded fighter. Five of his 11 wins have come by knockout. Some of his victims include Mark Munoz, Uriah Hall and the man who many believe to be the greatest MMA fighter of all time, Anderson Silva.
However, heading into UFC 175, Machida isn’t greatly concerned with Weidman’s accolades. According to Dave Doyle of MMA Fighting, the Brazilian stated:
Chris Weidman is a tough guy, he's well rounded. He's known for being a wrestler, he's very good on the ground, he can knock people out standing up. But I'm not too worried about Chris Weidman's strong points. I'm focused on what I do well and that's what I'll focus on when I'm in the Octagon.
Machida, who now finds himself reinvigorated and undefeated at middleweight, is a former light heavyweight champion himself. He sports a respectable 21-4 record and is known for outpointing his foes by employing tremendous footwork and an elusive fighting style to secure many of his wins. In fact, due to the latter, 11 of the former champion’s victories have come by way of decision.
Nevertheless, the great counter striker that is Machida has knocked out a barrage of top-level fighters as well. They include, but are not limited to, Mark Munoz, Ryan Bader, Thiago Silva and three former world champions in Randy Couture, Rashad Evans and Rich Franklin.
Even though Machida is faced with the opportunity to become the third fighter in the UFC’s history to attain a championship title from two different weight classes (Randy Couture and B.J. Penn are the other two), the Dragon is currently more focused on his victory this Saturday night. In an interview with Bas Rutten on Inside MMA, Machida stated:
I just put my focus on my fight, on my technique. For sure, I want to be the third guy with two belts in different class [sic], but my focus is on different things now...
...I can beat him (Weidman) 100 percent.
On July 5, Machida will attempt to become immortalized in the annals of mixed martial arts history by defeating Weidman and securing his second championship title. A victory would not only leave him Hall of Fame bound, it would all but solidify him as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time.
Lyoto Machida Speaks with Bas Rutten on Inside MMA