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Lyoto Machida Says His Best is Still Yet to Come

New light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has fought 17 rounds in the UFC. He has gone 17-0 in those rounds and moments after a close to a perfect performance against former champion Rashad Evans, Machida warned that his best is still yet to come.

“Now that I’ve become champion is when the real work begins,” Machida said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “My goal is always to go out there and become a better fighter every time I step into the octagon. Now, with the title, there is even more responsibility to do that.

“I’ll go back home, my father will analyze the tapes with my brothers and see the mistakes that I’ve made, and (I’ll) try to improve.”

That’s not good news for the rest of the light heavyweight division. In the last 18 months Machida has already easily disposed of Evans, Thiago Silva, Tito Ortiz and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Next up for The Dragon appears to be a showdown with former light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the last man to successfully defend the title..

“For every fighter I have a different strategy in my training because every fighter has different weaknesses,” Machida said. “My goal is to study Jackson’s weaknesses and try to capitalize off his mistakes.”

Jackson will represent another tough test for Machida but we could be seeing the start of something special with The Dragon. Machida has not only been the most dominant fighter in UFC history in terms of pure numbers, he appears to have the drive that will make him an even better fighter in the future.

And he doesn’t plan on giving up his belt any time soon. Machida says he plans on defending the light heavyweight title many times in the years to come.

“I want to stay the champion and to keep the belt a long time.”

  • KTru says:

    And he will………

  • captain.awesome says:

    All I have to say is…
    Dragon vs Spider

  • Bullylover says:

    Call me stupid but Machida might be the one to take andersons throne on top of the ufc.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Now that he’s won the belt, Machida will learn that there are increased distractions and pressures–interviews, appearances, publicity, etc.. His first big challenge will be to balance those outside demands with training and fighting. GSP and others have stumbled, so it’s a real challenge.

    Assuming Machida can strike that balance, Rampage isn’t as big of challenge as Rashad, and arguably not as big of a challenge as Silva. Rampage has become increasingly one-dimensional, focusing exclusively on strikes with almost no other offense. No wrestling to speak of, and certainly not to the level of Rashad, who Machida defended easily. Machida’s striking is far more advanced than Rampage’s, and Machida has proven he has ko power. And Rampage can be ko’d. He’ll get overly aggressive and catch a “lights out” counter.

  • neijia says:

    Yeah, unfortunately, no one else at LHW is at Machida’s level. I thought Evans could do a lot better than he did. Now, the criticism about Fedor and Anderson Silva fighting “cans” is about to be leveled at Machida. It’s not really their fault they’re so dominating when they’re on top of their own game like that. Someone new who’s as good as them will have to come along. Perhaps Jon Jones can get that good.

  • JJ Docker says:

    I’m not sure Angry Mike I think Rampage might pose a bigger threat than Evans. On a technical level you could argue his wrestling isn’t as strong but I think he applies it more effectively in fights. He out-wrestled Henderson for the most part of 5 rounds, which says a lot. I think he’s stronger than Evans and I also believe he is more fearless, as in more willing to engage in order to close the distance. This allows him to/could allow him to get in tight and initiate his power wrestling style combined with dirty boxing and Muay Thai. I’m not saying, however, that is what he will do against Machida. But, at the same time, I think from the “wrestlers” Machida has faced, (Ortiz, Evans) Rampage will have the best chance, if any at all, of putting him on his back – which is surely the only way to beat him. No one in the LHW division will outstrike him or sub him for the bottom.
    “No wrestling to speak of, and certainly not to the level of Rashad, who Machida defended easily.” – Machida didn’t defend him easily; he had no wrestling to defend, Evans attempted to strike with him the whole fight.
    If Rampage is to win this fight he needs to take his time, close off the octagon with footwork and ultimately try to get inside and press Machida against the fence and get him down from there – he will never get him down with outside shots. Unfortunately, for Rampage at least, closing the octagon or even closing the distance has proved impossible for every opponent I’ve seen Machida fight. Machida will be on top for a long time in my opinion, but I do feel that a fit, healthy and strategical Rampage is a bigger threat than Evans, Ortiz, Griffin and anyone else in UFC’s LHW division.


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