Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida became the most happiest man when he received the call from his manager regarding a UFC title fight against current light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.
Machida has emphasized the fact that he has trained extremely hard, has competed against the toughest fighters and that he has been waiting to become a UFC champion for a very long time. On May 23rd, Machida will have a chance to prove to the MMA world that he is indeed the best 205-pound fighter in the world if he gets by the hard-hitting Rashad “Sugar” Evans.
What a fight! Expect fireworks at UFC 98, scheduled to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena at Las Vegas, Nevada.
Here’s a brief interview we acquired as he recently talked to graciemag.com:
How did you find out about your title challenge being confirmed?
I found out just a bit before everyone else, I got a call from my manager saying it was a done deal. I was really happy because this is the chance I always hoped for and fought for. It’s a dream that after 15 years is being fulfilled. My moment is coming. Maybe yes, maybe not, but my opportunity has come. My story’s a bit different; I didn’t just come out of nowhere. A lot of folks don’t understand that. Ever since I saw Royce Gracie fight in the UFC I wanted to do no-rules fighting, so I prepared myself to be where I now am. I prepared myself for this situation. I’m not here by chance. That’s what I want to say. Now is a very important moment for me. A decisive moment because I’m going to put myself to the test come May 23, again. But I know this is just a step. My career will go on. Regardless of what happens I want to continue, if just because ones objectives change too.
Now you know about the fight, what will your preparations be like? What’s the next step?
Ever since the last fight [against Thiago Silva, at UFC 94] I’ve only had 10 days of rest. I traveled, went to Hawaii, enjoyed time with my son and my family and as soon as I got back I started training again, awaiting the UFC’s position. That’s always what I do. I train because I like it. Even my wife complains: ‘Geez, you just finished I fight and you’re back at training already?’ But that’s what I like doing, putting on the gi, training, both ground fighting and standing. I like it. So my preparations have already begun.
What is your impression of Rashad Evans as an adversary?
I know Rashad’s a super-strategic fighter, is good at wrestling, good at boxing, and hits real hard. But I’ve already fought a lot of guys like that. And this is just another fight for me. I can’t let myself think this is some seven-headed monster, I’m going to get out there and do my job. I think that’s what’s important. That’s the mentality that will make me stronger.