Lyoto confirms: Rampage’s vacation is over

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Quinton Jackson in collage on website

Lyoto Machida is already at full steam training in his hometown of Belem, Brazil, so it would be wise for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Machida’s next opponent, to drop his summer holidays. The fight between two former light heavyweight division champions is set for the November 20 UFC 123 show in Detroit. Before one of his training sessions, Machida had a chat with, and here’s what he said:

How do you feel about facing Quinton Jackson?

Couldn’t be a better opponent and the date is great, too; it gives me time to prepare. I already did an exchange in the USA and I foresee doing another one. I’m happy to be back and to prove I’m in the mix with the best of them. I’m working hard, I’m correcting a lot of things and putting a lot of effort in. I’m doing all aspects of fighting, the takedowns, ground fighting and striking.

Against Rashad Evans, Lyoto became UFC champion. Photo: Josh Hedges

For your last fight (loss to Mauricio Shogun) you only trained in Belem and didn’t do any exchanges. Was that a mistake?

Really, I was very focused while training in Belem. I’m not going to say it was a mistake, because I believe you can train anywhere, but when you have a lot of sparring partners, the technical level of people competing makes it much better to test yourself, to feel how you’ll react in determined situations. It’s important. I trained with Anderson and Mark Muñoz’s wrestling guys. I foresee a return trip there (USA) and several exchanges. I want to train at several academies, because I don’t hold myself to one in particular and I feel that’s important.

What’s your breakdown of Rampage’s qualities and defects?

First of all, he’s a former champion, so Rampage is someone with differential. A fight between two former champions couldn’t be more fitting, two fighters who want their place in the sun. He’s a strong guy who has good boxing and wrestling. I feel he’s a bit limited standing, but he’s really strong and, although he may defend well on the ground, he’s not that good there, either. As I feel MMA is a sport in constant evolution, one tends to seek out all the possibilities, regardless of the facet of the fight that comes up. I’m going to exploit Rampage where he  isn’t totally dominant. But I’m prepared for anything, whether it’s standing or on the ground.

Lyoto and Shogun faced off twice, with one victory apiece. Photo: Josh Hedges

You were undefeated in sixteen fights and suffered your first loss to Shogun. Did you learn anything from this setback?

The learning process is, at times, unconscious, something we can’t make out, whether in terms of your behavior or attitude. But it was a great learning process in every respect, be it in or out of the ring, for the people who were by my side, in training… I learned from it, but it’s hard to foresee how I’m going to fight and how everything will be. I’ll only know on the day and I’m most curious to find out just that: how I’m going to carry myself.

I don’t fall for provocation. It’s when we’re locked in battle that we see what happens,” Lyoto Machida

Rampage has spoken of you before and will probably start up with provocations. Does that concern you?

I see the professional side of it and know it’s his way of doing marketing. But nothing is worth talking about before the fact, because it really comes down to fight time. I’d rather not focus on that. Saying you’re going to make something happen is easy, but it’s when we’re locked in battle that we see what happens. I don’t fall for provocation and I’m focused.

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