Are the Days of the Dragon Over for Good?
Let's get a few things out of the way first. I don't like Lyoto Machida. I never have and I never will.
In my eyes, he is not a mixed martial arts fighter. Backing away the whole time and doing what you NEED to do to win the fight is a pathetic way to become champion and defend your belt.
Don't get me wrong, he came into the UFC beating guys left and right with his unorthodox style and left everyone wondering what it was that made him so hard to figure out. I admired that.
Now, after seeing what Mauricio "Shogun" Rua has done to The Dragon, we all know how to take down this Karate Master.
By taking away his legs and making him work, Machida becomes reckless and leaves openings for everyone to exploit.
This was seen by the rest of the MMA world at both UFC 104 and this past weekend at UFC 113.
Lyoto looked good in his fights with Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans. I will admit that much. BUT, once he became the champion, he did what everyone else does.
He became the guy that fights to not lose rather than continue being the guy that fights to win.
Because of that, I have lost all respect for him because he was painted as this fighter that will win at all costs and is so much different from everybody else. Now, we all know he is exactly like everybody else.
But what exactly is next for Lyoto Machida since being knocked out by Shogun?
There are a few interesting fights for him at light heavyweight, but now that everyone knows his weakness, I'm not sure he'll last.
Here are the fights that are a possibility to him since being defeated:
Rampage Jackson: The Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is slated to face Rashad Evans at UFC 114.
Rampage is a tough fighter that has good boxing, underrated wrestling, a good chin, and knockout power.
I would love to see Rampage beat Machida, considering he is one of my favorite fighters.
But, he doesn't have the tool to take down Machida, or should I say, he doesn't use it. The way to beat Machida is to take his legs away from him with kicks and pressure him. Rampage knows all about pressuring fighters, but rarely kicks.
I see this being a good opportunity for Machida to rebound from his loss to Rua with a win over a top fighter like Rampage. But, I know Rampage isn't the type of fighter that Machida will run over.
Rashad Evans: Rashad Evans and Lyoto have crossed paths before and we all saw how that turned out. Sugar Rashad was on his back by the second round and out cold.
Rashad, just like Rampage has good wrestling and good boxing, but rarely kicks.
I know Rashad would like an opportunity to avenge his only loss, but I think we would only see the same outcome since Rashad throws a lot of faints rather punches.
But, you never know. With Rashad's wrestling pedigree, he just might be able to get the takedown and hold Lyoto down long enough and unleash his ground and pound.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: Although they train together, Machida said recently that he has no problem fighting Little Nog.
This fight would be incredible to watch because of Machida's incredible Karate attacks and Rogerio's quick, pin point precision boxing.
I don't expect this fight to go to the ground since Machida is almost impossible to take down and Little Nog likes to pull guard and I doubt Lyoto will fall for it. So I would mostly expect a stand up battle.
On the feet, I'd have to give the edge to The Dragon due to the fact that he utilizes not just his hands and feet, but his knees as well, whereas Nogueira mostly just uses his boxing. I'd definitely pay to see this fight because it will only end in one way...a knockout!!!!!
Randy Couture: The Natural has made it clear that he wants the light heavyweight title around his waste again. But with all the talent in the UFC's light heavyweight division, I don't think he will get there.
But, with that being said, the UFC hasn't always been known for giving the right guy the title shot, so who knows. On top of that, Randy is a legend in the sport and as long as he is winning. I'd say he deserves any chance he asks for.
Most likely, Randy Couture will defeat his current opponent, James Toney, but after that, is it possible that Couture and Machida could meet? I think so.
Just think about how it would look. Machida is coming off of his loss to Shogun and wants to get his title back, and Couture will be on a three fight win streak and wants to fight Shogun as well. Pair the two up and I can guarantee a very well received pay per view headline.
Jon Jones: Bones Jones has been a wrecking machine since entering the UFC. He's gone 4-1 in the UFC. It should be 5-0 since the one fight he lost was by accidental disqualification.
But Jonny has shown he is in the mix for a title shot soon. He is next set to fight Vladimir Matyushenko, which should be an easy victory for this explosive young fighter.
But after that, why not not test him against the former champion himself, Lyoto Machida. Both are unorthodox strikers and are very explosive.
The only difference is that Jones is more of an offensive fighter whereas Machida is a counter striker. He waits for you to make the first move.
This would be incredible to see two guys with odd styles go head to head. A great win for either man if he could pull it off, but a loss for Machida would be devastating.
Forrest Griffin: I know all of you are probably thinking one of two things.
Number one, this would be an awesome fight because Forrest will pressure him and he likes to throw leg kicks.
Number two, this is terrible because Forrest will be demolished like he was against Silva. I honestly believe both are a possibility.
Forrest does have the style to beat Machida, just like Shogun did. But then again, Machida is best friends with Anderson, and The Spider knows exactly how to help out The Dragon. In my honest opinion, either outcome is possible.
I never liked Machida and I never will. His style of fighting irritates me and I'm going to enjoy every opportunity he loses.
The Dragon has been slayed. Now lets just hope he never returns to being the top dog he once was.
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