Machida prepared to capitalize on UFC division in flux
The number one contender to the light heavyweight crown has been a coveted position over the past year. The consensus heir apparent, Rashad Evans, has been plagued with injuries and timing issues. With “Suga” on the mend, the UFC turned to former champion Lyoto Machida to face Jon Jones this weekend at UFC 140 in Toronto.
“I feel like I’m in a much more mature stage of my life,” Machida said. “I’ve experienced everything now. I’ve experienced what it’s like to be a champion, experienced what it’s like to lose, what it’s like to be knocked out, experienced what it’s like to come back and get a big win. So I just feel a different fighter and a man, I’m more mature and I’m better prepared today than I was a year ago.”
“The Dragon” bounced back from the first two losses of his career with an impressive win over UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 129. While Machida was excited to get back into the win column, the call to face Jones came as an unexpected gift.
“To be honest with you, it was a big surprise because of the way things were working out with contenders and the fight and also Jon Jones having the title and that he’ll be fighting four times, which is a lot for a guy to fight in a year. So it was a big surprise.
“I think the thing I learned the most was that you can’t put too much value on anything in life. Nothing in life is 100 percent. Everything in life is temporary, even your kids. You raise your kids and put all your love in them, and eventually, they get up and leave and live their own life. I think that experience just helped me realize not to put too much value on any one thing.”
If Machida was once considered an unsolvable puzzle, current champion Jon Jones is an enigma. In his nine UFC fights, there has yet to be an opponent who has been able to inflict damage – a trend Machida will be looking to change.
“Honestly, Jon Jones is an incredible athlete. He’s very athletic, but I believe in what I study and what I trained for, and I believe in my techniques.”