(Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)
After Lyoto Machida scored the biggest win of his undefeated career by out-pointing Tito Ortiz to a unanimous decision at UFC 84, he immediately became the subject of intense debate in the MMA community. While his fans praise his impenetrable defense and technically perfect counter-attacks, there are others who find his stick-and-move style to be boring — or worse, cowardly. Our resident Brazilian Luiz de Souza called Machida at his home base in Belém, Brazil, to get his take on the criticism, and to find out where he thinks he stands in the UFC’s light-heavyweight title picture.
CagePotato: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us today. Do you have any idea who your next opponent will be?
There’s been a lot of speculation, but there’s no confirmation of anything yet. But I think it could be Thiago Silva, or even Quinton Jackson.
We’ve heard that multiple fighters have turned down fights with you. Why do you think people are trying to avoid you?
It’s like I said in other interviews, this is a business, and so many times people don’t want to fight, not because they are scared, but because they want to get to the top quicker. Many times, fighters have better opportunities of getting higher-ranked in other fights, which makes them choose their fights sparingly, not accepting all challenges. It’s not a matter of being scared.
Some UFC fans refer to your style as “boring.” How do you respond to that?
The truth is that my style of fighting is very technical, and many times people do not understand what I am trying to show them. But this is my style. I can add to it, try to get better combinations, improve my aggressiveness, but this is my style; it’s each person’s characteristics. There are fighters that try to add to their styles, but it’s very difficult to change completely. I fight for a positive result, and I believe that if I add a few things to my style I can still get these positive results.
I don’t feel that this is the only way fans see me. There are many of them who compliment me, and tell me they enjoy watching me fight, so it’s not only negativity coming from them. But it’s something that depends on each person’s point of view, and how the person is looking at the fight. If the person is only looking at it as a brawl, then it gets harder for the person to understand. But when they look at it with a more technical view, looking at the martial arts in it, maybe they’ll understand it better.
Has the UFC ever asked you to press the action more, or are they content with how your fights have been going?