Lyoto Machida | “The Dragon”
Ht: 6’1 – Wt: 205 – Age: 34
Born: Salvador, Brazil
Fights out of: Belem, Brazil
Team: Black House
Overall Record: 18-3
UFC Record: 10-3
Lyoto Machida is the former UFC light heavyweight champion. Machida was considered a prodigy in karate during his youth, training under the watchful eye of his father. Machida made the transition to MMA in 2003, competing primarily across Japan and his native Brazil. Machida quickly established himself against future UFC stars Stephan Bonnar and Rich Franklin, defeating both via TKO. In 2005, Machida faced his most decorated opponent to date in former UFC welterweight champion B.J. Penn, winning a hard-fought decision over the undersized Hawaiian. Machida built his record to 8-0 overall before finally signing with the UFC in 2007. Machida immediately showed off his trademark striking and elusiveness, easily defeating Sam Hoger, David Heath, and Kazuhiro Nakamura. Machida faced former PRIDE star Sokoudjou at UFC 79 and quickly took advantage of Sokoudjou’s mediocre ground gameto earn the finish. Machida took a step up in competition as he faced off against former UFC champion Tito Ortiz in what was termed as Ortiz’s final fight in the UFC. Machida controlled the majority of the fight before nearly being submitted in the final round. Machida went on to win via decision, his 5th straight win in the octagon. Machida moved on to score an impressive knock out of Thiago Silva to earn a title shot against newly-crowned champion Rashad Evans at UFC 98. Machida showcased his accurate striking, knocking out Evans in the 2nd round to become the new UFC light heavyweight champion. Machida’s first title defense was set to take place at UFC 104 against fellow Brazilian Shogun Rua. Machida and Rua squared off in a close 5-round fight, though Rua seemed to pull away with the victory in the fight’s final rounds. The judges disagreed, shockingly awarding Machida the unanimous decision. The controversial decision led to an immediate rematch with Rua. The two fighters faced off once again, this time at UFC 113. Rua seemed to have Machida’s number as he finished the champion with strikes in the 1st round. Machida was rumored to be considering retirement following his first career loss, but he he soon returned at UFC 123 against fellow former champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The fight was close throughout, though Machida seemed to nudge ahead in the final round. The decision could have gone either way as the judges awarded Jackson a split-decision victory. Machida was now riding a 2-fight losing streak heading into 2011 as he faced off against legendary former champion Randy Couture in what would end up being Couture’s final UFC fight. Machida proved to the quicker, stronger fighter as he avoided Couture’s takedown attempts, eventually putting Couture away with a front kick to the chin. With #1 contender Rashad Evans on the sidelines, Machida stepped forward as the new top contender for Jon Jones’ UFC championship. Machida more than held his own in the 1st round, but he was unable to maintain his momentum, losing via 2nd round submission.
Machida went 1-1 in 2011 as he unsuccessfully attempted to win his UFC light heavyweight title back.
Machida faced off against former UFC champion Randy Couture at UFC 129. Machida proved too quick and elusive for the aging Couture in the 1st round, routinely circling away or meeting him with solid counter strikes. In the 2nd round, Machida threw out a front kick that instantly dropped Couture to the ground and forced the referee stoppage.
Machida stayed sidelined for a few months awaiting a scheduled opponent, but was soon tapped to face reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 140, due to Jones’ original opponent, Rashad Evans, being injured. Machida’s style immediately seemed effective compared to Jones’ past adversaries as Machida deftly avoided Jones’ unorthodox striking attacks, occasionally darting in with his own respective flurries. Machida was able to land a few left hands that likely earned him the 1st round. Jones came out with a little bit more urgency as he pushed the pace, eventually scoring a takedown and subsequently slicing Machida open with an elbow strike. After a brief halt in action to check Machida’s cut, Jones once again closed the distance and landed a solid left hand before locking on a standing guillotine that left Machida unconscious.
Lyoto Machida was supposed to hold the UFC light heavyweight championship for at least a few title defenses as UFC commentator Joe Rogan, famous stated, “Welcome to the Machida era,” but somewhere along the way Machida lost his confidence. Following a 1-3 stretch in his last 4 fights, Machida will have to take a long look in the mirror and decide what he wants to do with the rest of his career. He has previously cited that he planned on retiring early and that is still a viable scenario should he lose his next couple of fights. Hopefully though, Machida is considering a move down to the middleweight division once Anderson Silva retires. Machida hardly cuts any weight and we saw his glaring size disadvantage versus Jon Jones. Machida has all the skills to be a champion or at least a top contender for years to come, but he will need to regain his confidence that seemed to disappear following his fights with Shogun.
Lyoto Machida Fight Record
Overall Record: 17-3
2008-2011 Record: 5-3
2011 Record: 1-1
Loss | Jon Jones | Sub | Rd 2 | UFC | 12/10/2011
Win | Randy Couture | KO | Rd 2 | UFC | 04/30/2011
2010 Record: 0-2
Loss | Quinton Jackson | Dec | Rd 3 | UFC | 11/20/2010
Loss | Mauricio Rua | KO | Rd 1 | UFC | 05/08/2010
2009 Record: 3-0
Win | Mauricio Rua | Dec | Rd 5 | UFC | 10/24/2009
Win | Rashad Evans | KO | Rd 2 | UFC | 05/23/2009
Win | Thiago Silva | KO | Rd 1 | UFC | 01/31/2009
2008 Record: 1-0
Win | Tito Ortiz | Dec | Rd 3 | UFC | 05/24/2008