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Lyoto Machida Says MMA Fans are Fickle and Sometimes Being Conservative is Necessary in MMA

("There goes my number of Twitter followers down the tubes.")

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida finds himself in the unfamiliar position of having his back against the wall coming off of two consecutive UFC losses. Aware that he needs to win his next bout or risk having his head on the UFC’s chopping block, "The Dragon," who was previously undefeated in his career before losing to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in his last two bouts says that the biggest adjustment he had to make as a loser was getting used to fans turning their backs on him.

“People sometimes want something that is not possible. St. Pierre for instance, plays by the rules, once you lose people don’t want to know about you anymore," Machida told Tatame in a recent interview. "It’s great to make a good show, if you can do both things, great, but you can’t always. Each day that goes by you keep seeing it as a sequence of losses because you keep distancing yourself to the title, so it’s harder for you to fight a top guy, like Rashad, who’s on the line for the belt. I have to seek another fight d o what I want, but when you’re in the middle of the ranking you never know what can happen to you. Vitor (Belfort), for instance, fought once and will dispute the title, because of his background, so it’s hard to say. But in my weight class I know there’re other people before me on the line; it happens."

As far as his last loss — a decision that many feel shouldn’t have gone  to Rampage — Machida says he is done dwelling on what should have or could have happened.

"Until these days I hear everybody telling me, ‘they steal from you,’ but I don’t like to keep saying it because it ain’t change anything, maybe it make things worse because I’ll keep thinking about it. Now I’ll do my own game, win without leaving any doubts. These are things we learn on the road."

Although he says that he won’t let his need to win force him to fight ultra conservatively, Lyoto says that sometimes situations in a fight require a fighter to play it safe.

" People sometimes want something and it’s not always possible. GSP plays by the rules all the time because he knows that, once you’re losing, nobody wants to know about you anymore. It’s great to do a great show, but you can’t do both sometimes. Sometimes you only have two chances of beating that opponent, so it’s best to keep a strategic fight and try to win because the level of the sport is so high. The other guy ain’t silly, he’s also trained. I can’t say ‘ok, let’s begin to exchange and see where it goes.’ We want to give a fight and give people a good show, but you have to play on a safety zone. Anderson Silva himself, in some of the fights he’s been doing, he does it to win, because he knows the consequences of the losses. We’re not playing an amateur sport."

Machida points out that his elusive counter-attacking style which has carried him this far in his career can be as much of an advantage as it is a disadvantage in MMA.

"[In MMA] it can be a bad thing for me, but in any other fighting sport, whether it’s Boxing or Muay Thai, there’s no such thing. The guy that attacks and the one that counter attacks have their credits, their shots. Where is there any good on walking forwards for five minutes and being hit 20 times?" he asks. "Only because you moved forwards it doesn’t mean you were effective. Sometimes it’s the wrong criteria to be used."

Happy to put 2010 behind him, Machida says that he’s looking forward to getting back on track in the new year.

"The expectations are the highest… 2010 was a great learning year for me, it’s a part of my journey. I’ve had a great 2007, 2008 and 2009 too… 2010 wasn’t a good one when it comes to wins, but I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grew a lot," he explains. "That’s a part of the process. It’s like it’s a circuit. On tennis and other sports, you can’t domain for many years, the number one loses a championships and then wins another, that’s all part of the sport."


Cagepotato Comments

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JaredB- December 25, 2010 at 2:13 pm
Nobody cared about Leben during that stretch where he was losing to guys like Rosholt and fighting on UFN undercards. When your brawling works is when people care about you, Machida is right on this, winning is everything in the UFC. Lesnar loses one fight and was never a champion, never mind that he tied the record for most HW title defenses...held by...another guy people forgot as soon as he quit winning, Tim Sylvia.
LesnarsIntestine- December 25, 2010 at 7:16 am
jesus, how much of a life could you guys honestly have? i know you are all sitting at your computer with new stories already typed up just sweating to post them, but won't because you would like to give the impression that you actually have someone to spend the holidays with. come back to reality bens! we need more stuff to read!
macreadysshack- December 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Yeah, for sure he needs to rethink his strategy. I think he was finally getting it with T Silva and Rashad - he was actually looking really hungry and bringing it as much as he could and still keep his style. I think his close one with Shogun (I personally thought Shogun won that fight) and then his subsequent beat down by Shogun got him 'gun-shy' (intended). So he reverted back to his more defensive style which is just not a sure thing when you're taking it to decision at this level of competition.

So yeah, I think he needs to light a fire under his ass again. I like to believe he has it in him because all that budo shit that he lives by basically comes down to manning up - win or lose.
Nut Puncher 9000- December 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm

"where he countered him into oblivion for chasing him around" - This is what I am talking about. Machida doesnt Fight, he runs. Boring as hell to watch one fighter walk someone down for 15/25 mins.

As for Cruz, reach advantage or not, he attacks. He dodges, weaves, etc while attacking. He doesnt just backpedal and counter when an opening presents itself.
NinjaVanish- December 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm
The only thing I like watching about Machida is when he loses.

Fucking boring and overhyped.
jimbonics- December 24, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Would you like some whine with your piss?
snagglepuss- December 24, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Machida is a solid fighter, all around. no question. when it comes to his game plan he needs to rethink things. if hes content with being the best at not getting hit then keep it up. If hes worried about keeping his fan base, i think he needs to be a little more risky. Hes says fans dont care about you when youre losing, which is not completely true. Take a dude like Leben. not even close to the same caliber as Machida, but you know the guy is wild and unpredictable and hes fun to watch. thats what people like at the end of the day. even if you can appreciate a fighter who executes a solid game plan, like myself, i'll take exciting any day(ben henderson vs anthony pettis). sure he has some great ko's but im always surprised when they happen. maybe if he loses his next fight, switching things up a bit wouldnt be the worst thing he could do. just a thought
klpii- December 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm
It was so much fun watching Machida get force - fed his teeth by Shogun. But to say Machida may be on the chopping block if he loses again is just stupid. CP needs to dump their staff of idiots and get some real journalists or at least a couple of people that are knowledgeable of MMA.
macreadysshack- December 24, 2010 at 1:09 pm
Machidas got some of the best defense in the sport - strikng D, TD D, BjjD. Jon Jones has some of tje best raw offense in the sport. If styles make fights then this fight is made.
macreadysshack- December 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm
I don't think machida was terribly over-hyped. He's still a top 5 LHW. Anybody who expected him to be Jesus, Muhammud, Ghandi or Richard Simmons has a juvenile approach tp the sport and humanity in general. Sp what if Rogan got excited and his crystal ball was busted tjat day - he' a color commentator not a sports scientis or gypsy hag. Fu** this iphone! Jon jones is obviously nexton the 'hype train' as tai pan says. I think he deserves it though so for me it's not 'hype' - its attention he deserves to get - just like Machid did. This new talent up against the old dragon is all the story line i need to be extremely excited about Bones vs Machida.
Tai-Pan- December 24, 2010 at 10:53 am

Jon Jones, obviously.
macreadysshack- December 24, 2010 at 10:09 am
Lol @ Kingatrock - Yeah, nobody's ever heard of the people Machida beat before joining the UFC.

I mean who the fuck are: BJ Penn, Rich Franklin or Stephan Bonner? You're right man, what a joke.

Anyways. Getting back at the people here that actually know what they're talking about . . . Great discussion about Machida. I think he's awesome and I love his style. Some people want to see two tanks standing in front of each other shooting. I like the motherfu**er who barely gets hit and then ktfo's bitches. Granted, Shogun felt him up plenty - and hats off to him. What a great couple of bastards. I feel blessed just to see those guys square off in my lifetime.

Happy Holidays, buttholes.
KingAtRock- December 24, 2010 at 9:28 am
When you're basically pushed into everyones face as... "THE MACHIDA ERA HAS BEGUN!!1!!" And no one has heard of you or the people you've beaten before entering the ufc, yeah the fans you earn quickly will leave quickly. Wonder why hes so shocked.

Who's next on the ufc hype machine?
Username- December 24, 2010 at 4:22 am
Poor Machicho,
while I'm not super psyched about his fights either, I think he gets hated on too much, because of the UFCs over-the-top hype before he became the champion, you know.
It was also ridiculous that sherdog etc put him that high on the p4p rankings and all.
And one more: that stupid "welcome to the machida-era" slogan that Jrogan said. For that sentence alone, I was also glad M. got beat up by Shogun for good.
hinduheat- December 23, 2010 at 10:37 pm
@bill jackson - uhh, you're definitely in the minority when you say Machida beat Jackson (in the 10point must system) and in an even more scarce minority when you say Bisping beat Hamill.

JaredB- December 23, 2010 at 8:10 pm
Nut Puncher did you ever see his fights with Thiago Silva or Rashad Evans where he was aggressive, he won a 10-8 round tooling supposed #2 Rashad and then finished him with a brutal KO? Thiago Silva where he countered him into oblivion for chasing him around? I agree Cruz is a great fighter but his last two opponents had an enormous range disadvantage against him, and Benavidez still punished him standing and I actually had him winning the fight. Cruz scraped by on takedowns in that one. The first of theirs was all Cruz though.
JaredB- December 23, 2010 at 8:05 pm
Oh, Nedkov's win over Randleman seemed like a ton of bullshit too but I admit I might be wrong about that. I'm surprised we haven't figured out a list of worst judges decisions with all the controversy about that lately.

The two most loathed for some reason, Sherk vs. Dunham and Machida vs. Shogun I had 29-28 with Dunham *barely* winning and pretty much figuring he lost with the judges due to the cut, and 48-47 Machida. There are way worse decisions than the ones people get pissed about.

There needs to be a better way to judge close fights, some kind of metrics to do it, how do you score a fight like Pickett vs. Menjivar that is like dead even?
JaredB- December 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm
Bill I literally just watched it like two days ago...Bisping got his ass kicked. I only had him even conceivably winning the third, he got destroyed on the feet, taken down at will, punished and beat up. 29-28 or 30-27 Hamill seem like the only correct scores. Phan vs. Garcia was probably just as bad, as well as Zombie vs. Garcia, or if we're going PRIDE rules when Ninja Rua kicked Rampage's ass and somehow lost.
NOTSOB- December 23, 2010 at 6:40 pm
@ Nut Puncher 9000


finally some1 sees what im seeing!!
Nut Puncher 9000- December 23, 2010 at 6:18 pm
Although I will give this guy credit for being a class act, I HATE watching his fights and I will not pay to watch him fight anytime in the near future. Do people really think this guy is that amazing? Elusive? NO. Standing barely in kick range and endlessly backpedaling and circling is not elusive. You want to see elusive, watch Dominic Cruz. That guy is elusive. In the pocket, throwing punches, dodging, weaving, Jorgenson barely ever even touched him. Fighting Machida is like fighting someone that doesnt want to fight...

Rampage basically followed him around for 15mins and you people think he was robbed? lol What a joke.

Anderson Silva trains with Machida and tried to act like him in a few of his fights and look at the backlash! Machida sucks. The only thing he is good at is avoiding the fight. I hope he is put to sleep in his next fight so that I never have to hear about the Track champion again.

Bill Jackson- December 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm
Jared B-

I had Bisping winning against Hamill. Maybe watch it again. Just saying.
Bill Jackson- December 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm
I had Machida winning all three rounds against Page. Just saying.
Jonny5- December 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm
at 16-2 he is still ranked #4 in the world at LHW and I see lots of exciting matchups for the Dragon in 11!
dranokills- December 23, 2010 at 5:54 pm
Seriously who gives a fuck what bitter grapes this piss drinker is feeling. You lose one more time and you can go be someone elses piss drinking wang licker.
JaredB- December 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm
Never got why people hate Machida for the Shogun fight; if you feel like it was a robbery, fine, but Machida has nothing to do with the judges scorecards; and it's morphed into this ridiculous myth of Shogun destroying him and breaking his spirit and knocking him out twenty times and submitting him ten and then getting the win taken away from him. Come on, it was a close fight and Machida only really faded in round five when he was working with a broken hand. It wasn't like Bisping vs. Hammill or anything where one guy blew out the other and then lost the decision.

Machida is the slowest of slow starters, which hurts him vs. a brawler on the ten point must scale. There wasn't a ton of action in the Machida vs. Jackson fight but 80% of the action there was went Machida's way (What was Jackson's meaningful offensive output in this fight? One good uppercut that didn't even rock Machida?). He's dangerous and he'll be back, and I don't see Jones posing much of a threat to him. I think Bader would create a lot of stylistic issues though - although my feeling that Jones vs. Bader will be a very one sided decision for Bader may be proven wrong, we'll have to see.