31 Jan A Closer Look At Lyoto Machida
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida steps into the Octagon again this Saturday for the main event at UFC Fight Night 125 in Brazil. Machida is an MMA veteran and has been in the octagon against the very best so let’s have a closer look at the man we all call The Dragon.
Machida was born in Salvador, Brazil, his father Yoshizo Machida who was a highly ranked head of the Japan Karate Association and was a Shotokan karate master. The Dragon started karate when he was only three years old and was a well established black belt by the time he was 13 years of age. Machida also started training in sumo wrestling at the age of eight and began Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and boxing at 16. The Dragon won a number of amateur karate tournaments including the 2001 Pan American Karate tournament. After this, he travelled to Thailand to study Muay Thai then went to Japan to study grappling at the NJPW Dojo. Machida also gained a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Walter Broce.
The southpaw started his MMA career in style, a 3-0 record in seven months of his pro debut with wins over Stephen Bonnar and Rich Franklin was an amazing start for The Dragon. Over the next three years, he was able to remain unbeaten with wins over BJ Penn and Michael Mcdonald, Machida got his call to the UFC with a perfect 8-0 record.
UFC 67 was the event Machida made his debut against Sam Hoger, the Brazillian emerged victorious with a decision victory. Machida went on a six-fight winning streak in the UFC including a win over Tito Ortiz and a knockout of the night award victory over Thiago Silva.
Machida now 14-0 in MMA got his title shot against Rashad Evans. In the second round of the title fight Machida started swinging at Evans, He rocked the champ with a left hook but Evans was able to scramble back to his feet, Machida continued to apply pressure then landed another left hook which knocked the champ out cold, he went stiff like 10,000 volts had just been applied to his brain and Machida had done it, he had become the UFC light heavyweight champion. Post fight with Joe Rogan an ecstatic Machida said: “People, I would like to say if you have a dream go ahead, its possible go ahead. You can do it.”
Machida successfully defended the belt against Shogun Rua. But in a rematch, Shogun was able to get revenge and he beat Machida meaning The Dragons title reign had come to an end and he had his first taste of defeat. The Jiu-Jitsu black belt had six more fights at light heavyweight where he won three and lost three fights including the famous crane kick knockout victory over Randy Couture and the loss to Jon Jones in a title fight.
Machida sitting on a record of 19-4 made the decision to move down to middleweight. He started brilliantly with wins over Gegard Mousasi and Mark Munoz and it looked like the unbeatable dragon had returned and he had earned a shot at the champion Chris Weidman. In a great fight, it was the all American that got the judges vote after five very entertaining rounds of action. Machida seemed unfazed by this set back as he put a beating on CB Dollaway in his next fight. A beautiful kick to the body made Dolloway curl up like a quaver and Machida followed it up with well-placed punches, Dolloway dropped to the floor and the ref intervened as the fight was over.
Since that glorious night in Brazil, Machida has lost his last three fights. Being 39-years-old the chances of him picking up great form again is severely unlikely I’m sure all die-hard MMA fans would love to see Machida win and retire on a high and February 3rd in front of his home country would surely be the ideal time and place for The Dragon to breathe fire for the final time.