UFC 123: Lyoto Machida’s 10 Career Defining Moments
"Machida Karate" - myth or real? This Saturday, November 20, 2010, when Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida meets Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at The Palace of Auburn Hills, we'll find out how real "Machida Karate" is - at UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida.
Until then, here's a list of Machida's 10 career defining moments.
1: A Slap in the Face – and a Champion Emerges?
Antonio Inoki organizes MMA events like "NJPW Ultimate Crush" and "Jungle Fight” in Japan. He was the ambassador for the IFL’s Tokyo entry before it folded. A founder of Kansuiryu Karate, legend has it that when Antonio Inoki slaps a fighter, that fighter becomes successful.
In 2003 after his win against Kengo Watanabe, Antonio Inoki slapped Lyoto Machida in the face. No one knows if it was the slap, or meant to be, but afterwards a legend was born.
To see it for yourself, take a look a the video!
2 – Fight Against Rich Franklin at Inoki Bomb-Ba-Ye in Japan
In 2003, Machida fought UFC veteran, Rich Franklin.
“I felt a lot of pressure when I fought Rich Franklin in Inoki Bomb-Ba-Ye in Japan,” says Machida. “At the time, I had just two MMA fights and he was undefeated with nine knockouts, and many people came to tell me that if I stayed on my feet, I would be knocked out fast.”
Fortunately, his father and karate master, told him: “It’s not like that; go there and believe in our art.”
So Lyoto did what he said "...and knocked him out in the second round.”
3: UFC 84: Tito Ortiz Vs. Lyoto Machida
Remember when these two fought in UFC 84? Leading up to the fight, it was pretty much “karateka” against “everyone else,” with everyone else thinking Tito was going to smash Machida.
It was during this fight that UFC fans (vs MMA fans who had already been watching him fight) got to really see Machida’s unique “back peddling” style of defensive fighting for the first time.
This unorthodox style was so difficult for Tito, and he became so frustrated, you can see him actually stopping in the middle of the fight to raise his hands in a frustrated “would you PLEASE freakin’ hold still for one second so I can PUNCH you?” look. Tito just couldn’t touch Machida.
The Dragon beat Tito via Unanimous Decision.
4: Machida Adds Weight Training
To prepare for UFC 94, Machida added weight lifting in his training regimen.
Showing more muscles than ever before, he earned a "Knockout of the Night" for his first-round stoppage of then undefeated Thiago Silva for his 14th win.
5: Speaka Da English and Get Some Fans
Many Brazilian and Japanese fighters have found that U.S. fans become more appreciative of their talent and victories when they make an effort to speak English.
I don’t know why – as it doesn’t reflect on their fighting skills or abilities, but perhaps it makes most people think if the fighters care enough to learn the local language, then they can embrace them more wholeheartedly and it's "okay."
Fans were even critical of Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos after her fight against Gina Carrano, when she paraded backstage, carrying the Brazilian flag and shouting with joy in Portuguese.
Machida has been no different. But like Cyborg, he showed off his newly-developed English skills during before and after media interviews at UFC 94, endearing him to U.S. fans and MMA professionals alike, and has tried hard to continue the tradition.
6: Machida Karate Is Born...In the U.S.
Karate belongs in the octagon – which Machida proved to fans and detractors alike at UFC 98. “Machida Karate” is a phrase coined by the fighter, after he put Rashad Evans to sleep at UFC 98.
Shouting “Karate is back! Machida Karate!” during his post-fight interview with UFC announcing phenom, Joe Rogan, Machida proved to the world that Karate belonged in the MMA octagon!
Per Machida: "My style is Machida Karate and it is a very traditional form. It differs from sports karate which we usually see in Karate schools and competitions as it has many elements which were lost in the style including the use of knees, elbows, takedowns and even some submissions."
After this fight, karateka joined Machida in celebrating his victory.
7: The Secret to Machida’s Success Revealed: Urine Therapy
During an interview, Lyoto Machida shocked fans when he admitted to indulging in "Urine Therapy.”
According to an interview he did with Tatame, a Brazilian fight magazine, Machida said that his family has a long standing tradition of drinking their own urine. Talk about shock value!
I don’t know about you, but in my family, we usually start the day with bacon and eggs, and a good strong cup of coffee! According to Machida, however, in their family – it’s traditional to drink the first urine of the day. Ummmm – yummy!
8: UFC 104: Machida Vs. Shogun
On October 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California, Machida shocked MMA fans when he successfully defended his Light Heavyweight Championship title against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua – much to the dismay of MMA fans.
In this heavily debated fight, many people thought Rua won due to his brutal delivery of leg kicks.
Battered and bruised, Machida managed to counter strike, and according to the judges, effectively defend his title by landing some major head shaking punches of his own.
To a crowd of boos, when asked if he’d fight Rua again, Machida said: “Anytime. Whenever he wants, I will fight him again. No problem.” His wish was granted in UFC 113: Machida vs Rua 2.
9: UFC 113: Machida Vs. Shogun 2
In this grudge match, in spite of Machida taking down Rua early in Round 1, and Rua eating some knees from Machida, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua knocked out the previously unbeaten Lyoto Machida in 3 minutes, 35 seconds into the first round.
I think this fight showed Machida that all is not golden, and if he wanted to continue to defend his title, it was time to add some changes to his game plan.
10 – Preparing for UFC 123 and Training With Steven Segal
Hopefully his training team, combined with personalized training from Aikido Master Steven Segal, will help Machida mix it up enough that he’ll prove to be a different fighter this Saturday, November 20, 2010, when he meets Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at The Palace of Auburn Hills for UFC 123.
In this video, you can see Segal telling Machida he needs to work on his combos and speed, to evade and then “eff” him up, “eff” up his rhythm; come out fast and intimidating, and scare his opponent. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think Rampage Jackson scares so easily.
I’m not so sure this training by Segal will be enough to help either. As cool as it looks, they did it in someone’s garden, on the walkway, with Segal telling Machida about the moves, and then showing his fancy stuff, but he never gets Machida to practice any of it!
And what’s with the whole, “here’s what you do with a kick” example? Segal looks like he’s not sure what to do with Machida’s leg!
Both are suffering from ring rust, but Rampage’s psychosis is-to Machida’s ability to focus. About the best advice Segal gave Machida is to not waste time wrestling or jockeying for position, but to quickly get rid of his opponent, punch him, and cut him.
We'll find out Saturday night if this was enough!