Lyoto Machida has suffered two straight losses in the Octagon and now faces yet another tough challenger in UFC veteran and legend Randy Couture.
Machida faces expulsion from the UFC if he loses his third straight match to Couture, something that could be a little weird for Machida, who has been part of the UFC since UFC 67 in 2007. Machida went on a tear to start his career, winning his first 16 bouts. UFC president Dana White has come out and said that Machida is in a "must-win" situation.
But in an interview with Tatame.com, Machida spoke out about everything leading up to UFC 129 and his bout with Couture.
"Honestly, at first, when he said that, I was worried and a bit upset. But then we had an actual meeting and he cleared up it wasn’t what he meant, so I stopped worrying and just focused on doing a good and clean fight. I want to show you what I’ve been training, what I’ve improved from the last fights I did," Machida said in the interview about possibly being cut by White.
Machida also talked about how much a win over Couture would mean for his career that has stagnated.
"Absolutely. There’s a point, when you’re among the tops, anything can happen. You can tell it just by looking the guys on this division: the guy is not on the ranking, but he does a good presentation and things happen, suddenly he’s knocking on the door for a title shot. But of course we worry about our next step, and now for me it’s Couture," said Machida.
"The consequence of a win is to bring me near the top, even for the great name Couture has build up in the event. I see this as a tough bout, it won’t be easy. It’s about that you can have an advantage, but you have to make yourself clear, because Couture has a great name on the event. I won’t fight him, I’ll also fight the judges."
Machida also went on to talk about his split decision loss to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
"I think the style is the same, but what happened to Rampage proves that, if in many of my fights I begin that process a little early, it might not even go to the judges’ decision, whether it’s striking or on the floor. That proved Rampage is a tough guy, but that when I really decided to go for it and try to solve things, I had a great advantage," Machida said.
"Now, considering where I came from, a resounding loss, I was knocked out, so I was worried to let it go for a little longer, so that it doesn’t happen something like what happened when I fought Shogun and it ended on the first round. I think that, if I start it earlier, like I did with Rampage, I started to move forwards on the second round… We know fighters study each other a lot on the first round, you don’t know what the guy will bring you, so it’s hard to get too much exposed, but from the second round on you can."
Now people have talked about Machida being a stylistic nightmare for newly-crowned UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. Machida is considered "untouchable" and is one of the most elusive fighters in the UFC on top of a great striker.
"When you study the fight, because he’ll also study me, nobody knows how the other will behave, and I’m sure he has a great team working with him, so our skills are equal. I believe I have a different style from most fighters, and I truly believe it, but it’s a thing that, honestly, I don’t really care right now," Machida said.
"I’m only worried about my next opponent, because I’m on a different situation now, I’m not on the line for a title shot, not now. It all can change in a matter of days, but it’s not happening right now. My next step is fighting Couture, and the next step is always the most important for me."
For the full interview of Lyoto Machida, click here to be directed to the Tatame.com article.