(photo taken from ufc.com)
Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (13-0) continues to climb his way up the UFC light heavyweight division ladder as he prepares to face another undefeated contender, Thiago Silva (13-0). The match-up was originally set for UFC 85: ‘Bedlam’ but Silva’s back injury pushed their bout to January 31st, 2009. Machida vs. Silva will headline the co-main event for UFC 94: ‘St. Pierre vs. Penn 2’.
After Machida defeated Tito Ortiz at UFC 84, back in May of 2008, many believed that he’d be the next fighter in line for the 205-pound title shot. However, the UFC was unsure who was next in line for the belt because both Thiago Silva and Rashad "Sugar" Evans were also possible candidates due to their unbeaten records. Once Evans defeated the former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell at UFC 88, it was clear to Dana White’s eyes that Evans would be next contender to face the new UFC champ Forrest Griffin (Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans set for UFC 92 in December). Machida seems patient where he stands today and believes that his time will come as long as he keeps on winning.
In a recent interview with bloodyelbow.com, Lyoto Machida talks about where he currently stands in the UFC. He also goes on to explain how his unique style of fighting may seem awkward to many, but insists that MMA fans will eventually understand through time:
"As I keep winning, I will get the title shot…Rashad Evans is a great fighter, have you checked out his record
lately? He hasn’t lost either. He has fought more in the UFC than I
have, maybe that is why they are letting him have a shot at the title.
He had a great knockout over Liddell…They will give me the opportunity, my time will come soon. I’ve been
prepared for this all my life to become a champion. When the talent
meets the opportunity: BOOM, new champion. I have the desire, I have
the talent, I put all my efforts into this, the opportunity will come
soon and I will be there ready…I can face anyone. Rampage is a tough guy and some people feel he beat
Forrest in their last fight and should be the champion. How do you
think the fans would react if I finished Rampage when Forrest did not?
But I will fight against anyone. Give me the job and I will get it
done. Rampage, Couture, Liddell, Vanderlei, Shogun, I work hard to win
and will keep winning. Who thought they would see Tito with his back on
the floor? Tito is a Great fighter but when he faced me, Lyoto, you
know the ending…My training is very versatile. My life is training, I just make some
adaptations for each opponent. They need to worry about me. Look at my
past, when I finish the fight I go dinner and have some fun and the
other fighters go to the hospital…Everyone has their own opinion and I really respect that. I am a
martial artist, there is a lot of thought and strategy that goes into
the way I fight. Give me time and in the future every one will
understand my style. It is like jiu-jitsu in the beginning (UFC 1, 2,
3…), it was boring but now it is necessary. If you don’t like it,
sorry. I always try to win. For some that is boring, I know, but I am
beating the best in the world. After my fights I do not have nothing
on my face, no scratches, no bruises. I am like a ghost they can not
find me. If that is boring, that is their opinion. But I will be there
for long time WINNING. Let everyone underestimate me. I will always be
training ready for the next."