Lyoto Machida doesn’t tend to go on losing streaks.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion has only lost back-to-back fights once in his career, five years ago, when he lost the title to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, then suffered a highly debatable split decision loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
So after the fighter nicknamed “The Dragon” suffered a shockingly one-sided defeat against Luke Rockhold in April at UFC on FOX 15 in Newark, he told the UFC he wanted to get back into the Octagon as soon as possible
“I like to be busy, especially after I lost against Luke Rockhold,” Machida said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “The best way to recover is to get another fight.”
Machida got his wish, as he’ll meet Yoel Romero on the UFC Fight Night card on June 27, a mere three months and change after his loss to Rockhold — and just two and a half months after undergoing hand surgery.
“Right after my fight against Luke Rockhold, I had surgery on my left hand,” Machida said. “I just took out some fragments from back then. Too many training and I had some fragments in my hand. It took my about three weeks to be healed 100 percent and now I’m here ready for this fight.”
Despite the surgery, Machida insists he got a solid training camp in for this fight, as he stayed in shape as well as he could before the call came.
“I think maybe 5-6 weeks,” Machida said of his camp length. “Great camp, no excuses, right after fight against Rockhold, three days later I had surgery. I couldn’t hit someone, [but I] could run, hit weights, do some stuff, kick bags. I never stopped, I wait for some opportunity, and suddenly, opportunity just showed up, I got this fight.”
If Machida was looking for a solid challenge in his comeback fight, the middleweight contender found it in Romero, an Olympic wrestling silver medalist for Cuba with a nasty striking game.
“He has a good ground game, he has control on the ground, and also many knockouts,” Machida said. “So, he’s a good fighter, a complete fighter, even though he only has a couple fights in MMA, he knows how to fight at a high level, because he used to compete in the Olympics, the world championships, he knows how to handle that.”
Although Machida knows the loss to Rockhold knocked him back in the race to get another shot against middleweight champion Chris Weidman, Machida believes that an impressive victory over Romero will put him right back on track.
“I think if I beat Romero, I’ll be in the mix,” Machida said. “I’ll be in the mix and I can fight for the title anytime. But that’s not my goal now, to think on the title, because Yoel Romero is a tough opponent. I have to think on my next fight, keep my focus on Yoel Romero. But if I have a good victory over him, I’ll be in the mix.”