Is the "Machida Era" back?
Lyoto Machida made a huge statement in his middleweight debut at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England, with a first-round knockout win over Mark Munoz. "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" didn’t land a single punch during the fight, and Machida was surprised how fast he finished his teammate.
"I expected a tough fight, maybe four or five rounds," Machida told MMAFighting.com. "I knew this fight could be over at any moment, but I expected it to be longer. I was ready for a long fight."
After he dropped Munoz with a head kick, Machida stopped going forward when he realized his friend was out, avoiding unnecessary punches. The fact that he was fighting a friend and training partner was a difficult part of his preparation.
"It was tough to deal with it when they offered me the fight, but after that I got mentally prepared to do my best in there," he said. "I have a huge respect for Mark Munoz and I had to do my best inside the Octagon to honor him as a friend. Win or lose, I had to do my best there."
Fighting friends isn’t new to "The Dragon", who had to fight his brother Chinzo Machida several times in karate tournaments in Brazil.
"I have fought my brother some times before," he said. "We got hurt some times, needed stitches, but it was normal after the fights. We always had a positive rivalry that pushed both of us to our best.
"I had do that secret move to win because he knew my game."
One of Machida’s biggest concerns coming into this fight was his weight cut, but it was easier than he expected.
"I was worried with my weight cut but I felt stronger and quicker at 185," he said. "I felt great. All the work was well executed so I could lose weight without any trouble. I had the cut 3.3 pounds on the day before the weight-ins, so I did a yoga class with Fabiano Gomes and lost it easily. I lost 3.3 in a yoga class."
"I was No. 1 in the light heavyweight division for a long time, fought for the title several times, but moving down to 185 was the best option for me right now. I’ve fought all the best at 205 so this is like a new career for me."
Dana White said in the post-fight press conference that a fight between Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort could happen next should "The Phenom" beat "Hendo" at UFC Fight Night 32 on Nov. 9 in Goiania, Brazil, and that’s the fight the former light heavyweight champion wants.
"Vitor Belfort is the best option for me right now," said Machida. "I want to fight him. It would be the best fight for me right now because he’s well ranked in the middleweight division. No hard feelings, I’m thinking what’s best for my career and where I can get with a win. Even if Vitor loses to Dan Henderson, I’d want to fight him in our weight class."
Machida believes a win over Belfort could give him a shot at the UFC title, but he’s not worried about that yet. In fact, he doesn’t know how he would handle the possibility of fighting Anderson Silva, even after fighting another teammate inside the Octagon.
"A win over Vitor Belfort puts me in front of everybody in the rankings, but let’s see what happens," he said. "It’s too soon to talk about it because Anderson Silva is too far away from me right now. Even if he wins, I don’t know for how long he will want to keep fighting. I haven’t talked to him for a long time. I don’t know how it’s going to work, we have the same managers. I rather not to talk about it now. When we get there, we’ll figure it out."