Lyoto Machida isn't just the light heavyweight champion of the UFC. He's also one of the smartest students of martial arts in the world, and the above interview with Sherdog shows just how much thought he puts into his sport. Some highlights below.
On his dream of becoming a UFC champion:
"When I was 15 years old I watched Royce Gracie in the cage and I thought I'd like to do the same thing. Now I'm very, very happy because I've got the belt and I've become the champion."
On his fighting style:
"Machida Karate is for real combat. Other karate may be not for real combat because there are many rules for the competition, and a lot of the rules aren't good for real combat -- you can't do some takedowns, you can't finish the fight on the ground. Machida Karate is very different. You can take down, you can punch on the ground, you can finish the fight on the ground, you can use the elbow, you can use the knee. In other karate, you can't use that in competition."
On his UFC 104 fight with Shogun Rua:
"Shogun was a champion in Pride in Japan, but now is a different time. We're going to fight in the cage in the UFC. I'm the champion, Shogun is the challenger. Shogun is great, but I have confidence."
On UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar:
"My focus right now is in my class, not heavyweights. But in the future I'd like to do a couple fights like Brock Lesnar. I respect Brock Lesnar as a fighter but I know that I can fight him. Brock Lesnar is a big challenge for me because he's a big guy: very, very srong, very, very powerful, very, very fast. I like the challenge. Brock Lesnar, for me, would be a very good fight."
On The Ultimate Fighter:
"My boss is Dana White and the Fertitta brothers. They can decide everything. But I"m trying to improve my English because I'd like to do the reality show next time."
On his dream UFC card in Brazil:
Lyoto Machida vs. Rampage Jackson
Shogun Rua vs. Forrest Griffin
Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira vs. Bock Lesnar
Wanderlei Silva vs. Vitor Belfort
Anderson Silva vs. Fedor Emelianenko