After capturing the light heavyweight crown in dramatic fashion less than two years ago, Lyoto Machida now finds himself on the wrong end of a two-fight streak. Unfortunately for the 32-year-old, this is the big leagues and UFC president Dana White claims three strikes and you’re out.
“He’s had two losses in a row. Right after he won the title, [UFC color commentator Joe Rogan] said this is ‘The Machida Era,’ and I thought so too,” White told a small group of soldiers on Friday.
“Then Shogun beat him, and then he just lost to Rampage. Now he’s fighting Randy Couture in Toronto – and this is a must-win for him.”
Machida slapped Rashad Evans senseless at UFC 98 to win the 205-pound crown. He successfully defended his title in a highly controversial decision win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 104, but was knocked out in their rematch at UFC 113 this past May.
His first professional loss was immediately followed by a questionable split decision defeat to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 123 in November.
“[The light heavyweight] division is interesting,” White stated. “There are so many guys at 205, (but) Rampage is probably next in line. Rampage is still in the mix. You’ve got Jon Jones fighting [Ryan] Bader, which is going to be a great fight that catapults one of those guys into the top five.
“The big problem with the 205-pound division has been, Shogun’s injury has been clogging up the division. So now he’s healthy and gonna fight, and we’re getting everything rolling here.”
The question is, will Machida be watching the parade go by?
UFC 129 takes place inside the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. April 30th marks D-Day for “The Dragon.”