Fresh off his bittersweet Knockout Of The Night victory in Manchester at middleweight, the former UFC light-heavyweight champ Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida talked with FOX UFC Insider Gareth A. Davies about the same mixed emotions fans saw in his Octagon performance as well as his future seeking gold.
In the UFC Fight Night main event, the 20-4 Machida delivered a picture-perfect left high kick to his friend No.5-ranked middleweight Mark Munoz’s head for a first round stoppage. “Very happy with the result,” stated Machida who showed restraint in the cage by rushing to the fallen Munoz, but held back follow-up punches to give the ref an opportunity to stop it, which the referee Marc Goddard did. That restraint illustrated Machida’s respect for his opposition, especially one he’s paying for the dinner of tonight. “Sometimes, I’m upset with the situation, but I’m a professional. I have to do my job and that’s all I did.”
The knockout finish was Machida’s first in three Octagon appearances in 2013 with the other two bouts ending in rather drab decisions. “I’m back for my best; I’m back for my karate, Machida karate,” added Machida who got back to his martial arts roots by training more karate for this fight after experiencing a lull in the Dan Henderson and Phil Davis match-ups. Machida explained that sometimes one needs to go back to basics to progress forward, which looked the case as “The Dragon” appeared as dangerous at 185 pounds as he did in his 205 pound title run three years ago.
When it came to the topic of shiny gold belts, “The Dragon” was crystal clear. “For sure, I want to be champion,” asserted Machida who has to be “in the mix” with a highlight reel win over an ultra-tough Munoz. As for the bouts that will get him to a title shot, Machida was open to Davies’ suggestion of fighting Michael Bisping in the England planned event in March. More importantly than that possible struggle, when asked if he’s ready to fight for the championship whether that is against Anderson Silva or Chris Weidman, “The Dragon” smiled and responded with exactly what UFC fans wanted to hear.
“Yeah, for sure,” affirmed Machida. “If I say I want the belt then I have to chase the belt.”