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Lyoto Machida exclusive: “Everybody called me ‘Karate Kid’”
With a kick a la “Karate Kid”, the former UFC light heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida knocked legendary Randy Couture out at UFC 129 to get back to the victories in a spectacular fashion. Heading back to Brazil, “The Dragon” spoke with TATAME.com and talked about the pressure, knockout, Couture’s retirement, Jon Jones and UFC Rio.
What are your thoughts on the fight?
I was very well trained for this fight. I was with a confident for this one like I wasn’t for the last fights. I increased my training, demanding more from my sparrings, and I felt comfortable in every single situation. When he held me on the clinch, I knew I would get out of there. I wasn’t expecting such an impressive victory, but I knew I couldn’t leave it to the judges.
How did you felt for being Couture’s last opponent? You were very emotional after the fight…
It was all the context… I needed the win too much, I was fighting a legend, a man that helped to build this sport. It was an unique moment. A legend retiring and me doing his last fight… When will it happen again?
And where did you take that kick from?
This kick is from Karate, it’s the Kanku Dai. When I started my preparation, after I did a hernia surgery, I couldn’t do everything in training, so my father (Yoshizo) told me to train three or four types of kicks and use them in sparring, but very carefully, because they hurt a lot, it’s like the elbow. When I came to Canada I met Steven Seagal, and he told “Lyoto, this kick will hit”. But I wasn’t worried to use it or not, I’d do it if the opportunity came. I came more relaxed to the second round and hit that. It’s not like it came from nowhere.
It was just like “Karate Kid’, right?
That’s true… Everybody at the stadium called me ‘Karate Kid’ after that (laughs).
Did you feel an extra pressure for seeing that the whole crowd for chanting Randy’s minute one minute before you knocked him out?
At that moment I wasn’t hearing anything anymore, I was just so concentrated on the fight. But I felt that when he walked in… I realized that the crowd was totally on his side. No that they were against me, but they preferred him. That’s normal, he’s a legend.
After all the criticism you received before the fight, you came more aggressive to this bout?
I felt myself more aggressive… I kept my style, but with an upgrade.
Where do you see yourself in the division now?
I swear, swear and swear… I don’t think too much far away, I take step by step. I know every fight is important to become better. I don’t have that pressure to become the champion again. I’ll get that chance. I even prefer to take another fight first to feel myself stronger and safer.
And who will be this next fight?
I don’t know that either, I don’t have a clue. There’s a lot of fighters: Ryan Bader, Rampage, Phil Davis… I’m just waiting.
A lot of people pointed you as a possible threat to Jon Jones. Do you think your style is the best to defeat him?
I believe so, my style matches well with his. He’s very eclectic, has many resources, bu I have too, and my timing and distance would help me a lot.
What do you expect for the future? Will you fight at UFC Rio?
I’d like to have a chance to fight at UFC Rio, but I believe it’d be hard to. After the fight ends we need a time to rest. Maybe I won’t have time to fight at Rio.
Sideways- When I saw the hands moving I immediately thought of Silva.
I hope after this fight Lyoto feels more confident being aggresive due to sparring with one of the best fighters on the planet right now....would love it if the kicks began flying from Lyoto after this renewal of confidence from him.
Tap- I actually didnt think he was going for the kick....1 second they are standing in the middle the next Randy is down.
The way Lyoto evades his opponents would really make this new Lyoto gameplan very deadly.
Keep evading then when the other guy is irritated come in with your super reach from the legs and if hes going to be fighting Jones in the future hes going to need those legs since Jones reach is massive.
Although he has been on a losing streak even though I thought he won the Rampage fight....cant wait for the next fight.