Former UFC light heavyweight titleholder Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida is the highest ranked 205-pound fighter on the UFC roster behind champion Jon Jones. He was defeated by Jones at UFC 140 by submission and hasn’t yet been able to work his way back to a title fight.
When a knee injury forced Dan Henderson out of the UFC 151 title fight with Jones, Machida was given the opportunity to step in as Henderson’s replacement, but declined, citing a lack of proper time to prepare.
When he faced Henderson at UFC 157, the match-up was billed as a top contender’s bout, but, although Machida defeated Henderson, Alexander Gustafsson will face Jones at UFC 165 in September, instead.
Machida takes on top-ten ranked Phil Davis at UFC 163 on Saturday and hopes to show he’s ready for a rematch with Jones.
“I was a bit frustrated because it was the second time that I get this opportunity and I wasn’t given the opportunity to go for the title bout, so this Saturday I would like to gratify that I am, in fact, ready to go after the title,” said Machida during the UFC 163 pre-fight press conference in Brazil on Thursday.
Stylistically, it’s a striker vs. wrestler clash and Machida has been successful when facing wrestlers in the past. He holds wins over Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, Rashad Evans, Ryan Bader and Dan Henderson, all accomplished grapplers.
“The strategy for this fight is something which I am a fighter which I prefer striking. I prefer fighting standing up. Phil Davis is someone who is going to try to take me down, so I just have to make him play my game. That’s what I’m going to try to do. I’m going to make him play my game. That’s my main strategy,” said the former champion.
Machida has, however, prepared for the possibility of being taken down.
“We always work out for all situations. I’ve also worked out for this situation of having to do three or four rounds on fighting wrestling against the cage. I’m ready to go down. I’m ready to stand up. I’m ready for anything,” he said.
“It’s going to be an MMA – it’s not a wrestling, it’s not a boxing, it’s not a karate fight. It’s a MMA fight, and that’s what I’m ready for.”
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