Lyoto Machida. Where does he go from here? Once upon a time, this man was seen as the future of the light heavyweight division. Undefeated, nobody wanted to fight him because he was not an easy fight for anybody. His style was very often compared to a rubik’s cube, as his Karate style was very difficult to figure out. His distance and timing were things that no fighter had seen and he made them pay for it over six years. After taking the title from Rashad Evans at UFC 98, Joe Rogan screamed, “Ladies and gentleman! Welcome to the Machida Era!” and those words went down in MMA history. Everybody believed it, and nobody saw anybody taking his title away. This is where the problems started.
The Dragon’s first title defense against Shogun Rua, was the fight in which he won a decision largely considered one of the biggest robberies of all time. After this, people still favored him in a rematch with Rua in which he was viciously knocked out. What happened? Well in this fight he strayed away from his traditional patient counter striking and was more aggressive which got his lights put out. It was back to the drawing board, his next fight he was patient again fighting Rampage Jackson where the majority of fans thought he was robbed of a win in a split decision. This was his second time being involved with a controversial decision, and it was followed by two more. He took the win over Dan Henderson in another split decision many thought Dan won, and most recently took a loss to Phil Davis in a decision currently being considered the worst robbery since his fight with Shogun.
So what is it about Lyoto Machida’s style that causes him to be involved in controversial decisions? Whenever the Dragon fights to a decision, fans are under the impression that it will be nothing more than a coin flip at this point. He cannot keep doing this. Whether it be the judges incompetence, or Lyoto’s confusing fighting style, he must change something. Lyoto can not go on fighting to decision after decision if he is not going to be more dominant in some way. It is a bad decision for is career. I’m not one to tell Machida what to do, but it’s become very obvious that something needs to change.