Although 14 of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s 30 professional victories have come via some form of knockout, Lyoto Machida believes his UFC 123 opponent’s stand-up game isn’t quite up to snuff. Oh, and don’t even get him started on Rampage’s unacceptable credentials on the canvas.
“First of all, he’s a former champion, so Rampage is someone with differential,” Machida told GracieMag.com. “A fight between two former champions couldn’t be more fitting, two fighters who want their place in the sun. He’s a strong guy who has good boxing and wrestling.
“I feel he’s a bit limited standing, but he’s really strong and, although he may defend well on the ground, he’s not that good there either.”
Was that just some Brazilian bashing courtesy of the normally reserved Machida?
While some might think “The Dragon” is spitting hot fire, the 32-year-old believes he’s just stating the obvious.
“As I feel MMA is a sport in constant evolution, one tends to seek out all the possibilities, regardless of the facet of the fight that comes up,” Machida stated. “I’m going to exploit Rampage where he isn’t totally dominant, but I’m prepared for anything. Whether it’s standing or on the ground.”
That sounds more like the Machida that we’ve come to know. It certainly wouldn’t be advantageous for him to engage in a verbal sparring session with one of MMA’s most talented wordsmen. It’s a fact he’s well aware of and that’s why he intends to take on the role his amigo Anderson Silva played leading up to his bout with Chael Sonnen, where he allowed his challenger to do all the heavy pre-fight promotional lifting.
“I see the professional side of it and know it’s his way of doing marketing, but nothing is worth talking about before the fact because it really comes down to fight time. I’d rather not focus on that,” Machida added. “Saying you’re going to make something happen is easy, but it’s when we’re locked in battle that we see what happens.
“I don’t fall for provocation and I’m focused.”
The former 205-pound kings will meet November 20th inside The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan.