Lyoto Machida was set to face Tim Kennedy in his middleweight debut at UFC Fight For The Troops 3, but he decided to accept the UFC’s offer and replace Michael Bisping against Mark Muñoz at UFC Fight Night 30 on Oct. 26.
Kennedy is 1-0 in the UFC with a unanimous decision victory over Roger Gracie, while Munoz looks for his ninth win inside the Octagon. A better opportunity to climb the rankings is one of the reasons why Machida decided to change opponents.
"I thought for a while about it (when UFC offered the change), but I didn’t want to disappoint and frustrate the UFC," Machida told MMAFighting.com. "The date wasn’t that bad. I was already training hard for my fight, so I decided to take it. They were both main events, but this is a better one because Mark Munoz is better ranked and it’s not a (Fight For The Troops) card."
Munoz has one submission and six knockouts on his record, while Kennedy finished eight of his 16 wins by submission. However, Machida sees some similarities in their games.
"They’re not that different," he said. "They both have similar styles, but Tim Kennedy likes to go for the takedown from the body lock and Munoz moves more. But they basically have similar styles."
One advantage against Munoz, which Machida wouldn’t have over Kennedy, is the fact that they used to train together.
"We were training together so that’s a little complicated, but that’s inevitable here in California," he said. "We always look for better training so we ended up training together. It’s complicated, but it’s tough for both of us. I’ve learned some things from his game, but he did too.
"Mark Munoz was always very friendly, gave me tips during trainings," he continued. "We helped each other a lot. But we were training together, it’s not like he was teaching me. You test yourself a lot during sparring."
"I always go to win decisively," he said. "I had a (foot) injury and couldn’t show what I wanted in my last fight, but I’ll be different this time."