The wise Patches O’Houlihan once said, “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida claims he can dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge his way back to the top of the totem pole.
“The Dragon” has parlayed his fancy footwork to a dominant 16-1 pro mark, so it’s obvious why he keeps dancing with the chick he took to the prom. Although his elusive ways have proven to be worth its weight in Octagon gold, Machida continues to receive criticism for his less than thrilling style.
“Everyone has their own opinion. That’s someone’s opinion,” Machida told MMAjunkie.com of his detractors. “But my style made me a champion. Everybody’s got to keep to the style that makes them feel comfortable in the ring.”
At the same time, he’s also no longer donning the bling-bling belt and it can be argued he should be down 2-Love to reigning king Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. After getting robbed in Downtown Los Angeles at UFC 104, Shogun came back firing in their mulligan and quickly put Machida down at UFC 113 this past May.
They say (No, not Patches) that the true test of a champion is how they respond after getting knocked down – or in Machida’s case, slapped completely unconscious. Considering Shogun was the first blemish on his immaculate resume, Machida will be swimming in uncharted territory when he meets Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 123.
“Part of this game is that you win some and you lose some,” the 32-year-old said. “I felt that there was a lot of pressure on my back because many of the fans had this aura of me being the undefeated champion.I knew one day I could lose like everyone else. Now I feel like I’ve learned a lot from that loss and it’s taken a lot of pressure off my back.
“It’s a great matchup of styles. Rampage is known to be aggressive and I like to stand up. Put those two styles together and it’s a good match.”
UFC 123 takes place this Saturday inside The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan.