New light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has fought 17 rounds in the UFC. He has gone 17-0 in those rounds and moments after a close to a perfect performance against former champion Rashad Evans, Machida warned that his best is still yet to come.
“Now that I’ve become champion is when the real work begins,” Machida said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “My goal is always to go out there and become a better fighter every time I step into the octagon. Now, with the title, there is even more responsibility to do that.
“I’ll go back home, my father will analyze the tapes with my brothers and see the mistakes that I’ve made, and (I’ll) try to improve.”
That’s not good news for the rest of the light heavyweight division. In the last 18 months Machida has already easily disposed of Evans, Thiago Silva, Tito Ortiz and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Next up for The Dragon appears to be a showdown with former light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the last man to successfully defend the title..
“For every fighter I have a different strategy in my training because every fighter has different weaknesses,” Machida said. “My goal is to study Jackson’s weaknesses and try to capitalize off his mistakes.”
Jackson will represent another tough test for Machida but we could be seeing the start of something special with The Dragon. Machida has not only been the most dominant fighter in UFC history in terms of pure numbers, he appears to have the drive that will make him an even better fighter in the future.
And he doesn’t plan on giving up his belt any time soon. Machida says he plans on defending the light heavyweight title many times in the years to come.
“I want to stay the champion and to keep the belt a long time.”