Just a year ago Lyoto Machida was the UFC’s light-heavyweight champion, owning a perfect 16-0 record and aiming to lay down a legacy as one o the best fighters to ever step into the octagon.
A year later after two consecutive losses he could now be facing being cut from the promotion if he doesn’t defeat Randy Couture at UFC 129 in Toronto, Canada on April 30th according to UFC president Dana White.
“He’s had two losses in a row. Right after he won the title, [Joe Rogan] said this is ‘The Machida Era,’ and I thought so too,” White told the troops at Fort Hood during a Q&A session on Friday. “Then Shogun beat him, and then he just lost to Rampage. Now he’s fighting Randy Couture in Toronto – and this is a must-win for him.”
It remains to be seen whether the UFC would indeed let him go if he fails to defeat ‘The Natural’, but I must admit if they did it would seem to be more than a little hasty.
There’s no doubt that some of the mystique surrounding the Karate master has evaporated after ‘Shogun’ Rua showed that he can be beaten, but he’s still a top level fighter who adds considerably to the talent pool in the UFC’s ultra-competitive 205lb roster.
His third round performance against Rampage (who White indicated to the troops could be the next in line to fight for the title) proved that, hurting the highly regarded striker on the feet, and then dominating him on the ground. In fact there was a feeling amongst some observers that the ‘split decision’ award that followed should have been in his favor.
If Tito Ortiz, a fighter Machida has previously defeated, can go 0-4-1 and still have a place in the UFC then there’s simply no excuse not to give ‘The Dragon’ additional time to regain the form that had MMA fans buzzing with talk of ‘The Machida Era.’