Machida's jumping front kick was reminiscent of the kick that Machida's friend and training partner Anderson Silva used to defeat Vitor Belfort in February. Like Silva, Machida credited the action star Steven Seagal for teaching them the kick.
"I feel very good because I trained it a lot, this kick," Machida said after the fight. "My dad taught me, Mr. Steven Seagal taught me also."
But while Machida's knockout was impressive, the real story of the fight is that it likely marked the end of the career of the legendary Couture. Although fighters frequently retire only to come out of retirement later, the 47-year-old Couture sounded after the fight like he's made his decision, and he's done fighting.
"No, you're not going to see me again," Couture said. "This is it."
Although he had been knocked out and appeared to lose a tooth with the kick to the face, Couture looked happy and satisfied afterward. The always classy Couture got up off the canvas, waved to the crowd, then hugged Machida and said, "Nice job."
Machida knew he had just beaten a legend.
"It's an honor to me to fight this guy," Machida said. "It was a dream. He's a hero."
Couture has nothing more to prove in MMA; he'll be remembered as one of the all-time greats. But with his record now falling to 19-11, it's clear that he's not going to compete with the elites in the sport anymore. It's easy to see why he thinks it's time to hang it up.
But Machida, who improved to 17-2, has a lot of great fights left in him. He's one of the best in the sport, and he proved it once again in beating one of the best of all time.
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