(There’s an ad for a sports drink if I ever saw one.)
The former UFC light heavyweight champ says he’s preparing for every scenario that "Rampage" may present him with during the fight — even the unlikelihood that Jackson may demonstrate some newly developed kickboxing skills.
"Well, I always think for a MMA fight, despite the specialties of each fighter, you have to be prepared for anything, because we can never know what the guy is up to. A guy who doesn’t know how to kick may be kicking on the following fight, you can’t tell for sure. The need leads the frog to a jump. We have many examples of people who are good on areas that aren’t theirs specialties: Georges St. Pierre has improved a lot his Wrestling, people that didn’t kick are now kicking and so it goes… I don’t underestimate any fighter," Machida told Tatame.com. "I think that, just as I’m prepared for anything during the fight, so are they: the stand-up game, the takedowns and the ground game. Of course we have our game plan set, our strong point is Karate and the exchanges, but if we need to use the other skills, we will do the takedowns and the ground game that I train here with Valter Broca, who’s a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, graduated by De La Riva, who always help me on this area."
As far as Jackson’s gameplan, Machida doesn’t think Quinton will shy away from standing with him, despite his tough to defend against unorthodox karate striking prowess.
"I think that Quinton Jackson always comes for the striking, independently of his opponent, he always tries to impose his game, so it’ll be up to me because he’ll try to use his boxing and I have to try to block his game and impose mine," he explains. "I think Quinton is a great fighter, I respect him, he always does his game and I try to do mine and keep improving so I can please the audience and the fans all around the world because it’s a part of MMA. We have to win and please the public and the fans that cheer for you, you can’t do things on your own."
Despite losing his championship strap in dramatic fashion in May to Mauricio Rua, Machida at UFC 113, Machida says he isn’t concerned with the rubber match with Shogun at the moment.
"I think one step at a time. People talk about Shogun and I don’t keep thinking about Shogun, he’s long gone now. Now I have to think about my next challenge because sometimes we keep thinking about the future, but we can’t even make the next step, so I think I have to be prepared and I can’t underestimate anyone.," Machida says. "Now I’ll have to face Quinton Jackson and there are many factors to consider before I have a title shot. I think it’s best for me to focus on this fight and I’ll welcome whatever comes to me in the future."
Contradicting his previous statement, when asked whether he thought he should have to win another bout should he get by Jackson later this month before he gets another shot at the title, Lyoto didn’t hesitate before answering.
"I think that I’d like to confront Shogun [next]. I don’t have anything against him, I think he’s really respectful and I have given many interviews saying he’s an example for the sport. I’ve won one and he won another," he explains. "I think we have to fight one more time and it’s part of the natural course, at the end of each one’s career and we’ll see that we’ve all learned from it, it was a good thing for all of us, and we’ll be please and friendly. We saw that Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling were enemies and now they’re not anymore, so…
Although he is proof positive that traditional martial arts can still prove successful in MMA, Machida says that advanced conditioning and athleticism in fighters like Ryan Bader and Jon Jones is the future of the sport.
"I believe that the new generation is a really conditioned generation, [who] has begun to build the pillars for being a great fighter and there’re great athletes that are popular," he says. "Now me, Rashad, Rampage and Shogun will have to face those guys."