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Machida ‘Completely Different Fighter’

Machida ‘Completely Different Fighter’

December 5, 2011

Since he joined the UFC as the then-youngest fighter in the promotion in 2008, nobody in the light heavyweight division has been able to slow down Jon Jones.

Increasingly impressive in eight Octagon appearances, the only blemish on the Jackson’s MMA product’s record is a disqualification loss to Matt Hamill at “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Finale Finale. Even then, Jones was thoroughly dominant before the use of illegal 12-to-6 elbows left Hamill unable to continue.

Lyoto Machida knows what it’s like to be viewed as unbeatable. During a seven-bout stretch that began in 2007 and ended when he captured the 205-pound strap in 2009, “The Dragon” didn’t lose a single round. That aura of invincibility took a hit in a disputed decision win over Mauricio Rua at UFC 104 and came crashing to earth in their rematch at UFC 113, which “Shogun” won via brutal first-round knockout.

Since then Machida is 1-1, suffering a close split-decision setback to Quinton Jackson atUFC 123 and beating Randy Couture with a spectacular front-kick knockout at UFC 129. He will get a chance to recapture light heavyweight gold when he challenges Jones in the UFC 140 main event on Saturday. Working in Machida’s favor is the understanding of what it means to bounce back from defeat.

“It’s something that happens in a lot of careers,” he said during a recent UFC teleconference. “A lot of guys have early victorious careers, but there’s ups and downs at some point. I’ve learned a lot since winning the title and losing it…I assure you that I’m a completely different fighter.”

Thus far it has been nothing but ups for Jones, whose unique combination of reach,wrestling and creative striking are an imposing obstacle for anyone. Among those in camp helping Machida train for Jones have been WEC veteran Glover Teixeira and formerStrikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed Lawal.

“Having those guys around really helped,” Machida said.

It’s unclear whether Steven Seagal, the actor and martial artist who helped Machida perfect the front kick that knocked out Couture, will have much of a role in the karateka’s preparation for Jones.

“I haven’t spoken with Seagal in a little bit,” Machida said. “I spoke (with him) when we were up in Toronto for the pre-fight press conference. We haven’t spoken yet (since then), but who knows, he could be there (at UFC 140.)”

Source: Sherdog