One time, Lyoto Machida was considered unbeatable. When he won the UFC light-heavyweight title in 2009 there was talk of there being a ‘Machida Era’ which would possibly only end when Machida retired or suffered some physical decline that would allow someone to take over.
But after he knocked out Rashad Evans to win the title, he made only two defences. The first, he retained the belt against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua with a controversial decision. They had an immediate rematch and Machida lost by first round TKO.
He followed that with a decision loss to Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, putting him on an 0-2 run. A win over Randy Couture brought him back but then he tried to take the title from Jon Jones on short notice and suffered the first submission loss of his career.
“It is a process of restarting and I know that it never is easy to climb up again. I’m looking for my evolution in the training, to improve even more. Since I arrived in UFC, I am here to fight for the belt and be on the top. I will have much work ahead but let’s see how things go,” he told UOL Esporte.
To start his climb back to the top, Machida has his eye on a third match with Rua. He also wanted a fight with Dan Henderson but the veteran fighter is holding out for a title shot at light-heavyweight or middleweight, something he made a condition when he returned to the UFC from Strikeforce.
“I think yeah it would be a good time for the third bout with Shogun but, who knows? This duel might be kept aside for a bigger stuff, a reality show... It would sell even more and I think this fight would have a heavier appeal,” he says.
“I understand Dan Henderson’s position. We are in a sport in which there is respect and professionalism. I know he is in the search for the title and I guess he did not want to risk it in this moment of his career and miss the this opportunity, so is understandable”.