New Lyoto Machida interview
someone on another forum was generous enough to translate it into english.
Lyoto Machida, light heavyweight world champion from the UFC, 31 years old, trains in Belém to face Curitiba’s own Maurício “Shogun” Rua.
The fight will be in October 24, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, USA. This will be Lyoto’s first bout after the world championship’s conquer against the unbeaten Rashad Evans, on UFC 98, with a KO that left no doubts about the Machida Karate, which came out from the Shotokan Karate.
When Lyoto appeared in the MMA world, Karate hasn’t proven that it could be a champion’s base. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing and Muay Thai were always among the roots of the fighters that were upon the rankings.
But Lyoto achieved 15 fights without losing, knocking opponents out with karate movements, training in his family’s gym in Belém and not in a big foreign training center, surrounded by friends and long time partners, with his conditioning coach Eduardo Lisboa, who is also from Belém and knows him since he was 8 years old and is a Shotokan Karate black belt and a former Yoshizo Machida student, patriarch of the Machida family. Laurel, another friend, is his most important sparring partner. His brother, Shinzo, is his coach, leads the trainings and goes to the corner giving instructions when he fights.
Lyoto is focused on his trainings to his first title defense. He has delayed all his obligations and also doesn’t talk to the press. With the same humbleness that he fights, he made an exception for Diário do Pará journal to make this interview.
Question: How is your training?
LYOTO – Its six days per week, here in this gym (Machida’s Dojo). On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we make the physical part, which is the strength training along with the power training, which is the plyometric training.
Question – What is plyometry?
LYOTO – It’s a work where we throw a ball, we jump upon a box, but depending on the day we have a specific training. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the days where we have sparring and running, when we make the aerobic work. Sparring is closest to the reality. We have protections and we train with a lot of will to catch the other one and we simulate the day of the fight. We also train the ground game, because in the fight we can go to the ground so we train everything to leave no holes in the game.
Question - What’s your base?
LYOTO - I’m a karate black belt, 3rd dan, and a black belt in BJJ under Master Ricardo De La Riva. De La Riva was one of the best Carlson Gracie students, in the 80’s decade, and opened his own gym. That comes through Alexei Cruz, Walter Broca and Michel Menezes, who is an instructor in our dojo. These guys always help me and give me strength when I need.
Question – So you already had a BJJ base (before debuting in MMA)?
LYOTO- Yeah, because I had a program. I always say that to people. I made a program for what’s happening today. I’m not here without a reason.
Question – So you didn’t go there only with a karate base?
LYOTO – No. When I watched the UFC for the first time I was just 15 years old and I Said “I want to do that”. I saw BJJ as a very efficient art and required to a MMA situation. So, to fully use my karate I have to learn BJJ. If I need to go to the ground, I’m prepared to the situation where I set me free and try to do my standing game. I see the ground game as a 2nd option for me.
Question – But you’ve already finished an opponent on the ground with a katagatami (arm triangle choke), ins’t that true?
LYOTO – Yes, I’ve finished him with a katagatami (talking about the Sokoudjou fight). So if the fight goes to the ground, I do have enough weapons to go toe to toe with a lot of people out there.
Question – Who is your idol in MMA?
LYOTO – I like Anderson Silva a lot. I like his style. I also like a lot Fedor Emelianenko and Rodrigo Minotauro. Fedor was in Pride, and then went to Affliction. As both organizations bankrupted, today the UFC is the biggest and strongest MMA organization.
Question – You use a lot of leg works and De-Ai. Was that the way you knocked out (your opponent) in order to gain the title?
LYOTO – Usually in karate we train a lot of distance. This is very important inside the fight because you can have a ton in your punch but if you don’t land it it’s not worthy. This leg movement is called Tai-Sabaki, which is also trained in Judo. It’s the so called footwork, when you go to a side, gets into the opponents reach, backpedals, gets out again, hit, rotate… that’s the Tai-Sabaki. Another resource is the De-Ai, the fight’s time, when you hit your opponent when he is not waiting for it.
Question – Was that what happened in the Evans fight?
LYOTO – Yes. When he came out I had already anticipated him. Karate is all about time and distance, because the fight time is fundamental. You can see on Anderson’s last fight (against Forrest Griffin). He didn’t hit him with power, he hit him on the right time, and that’s why he fell down.
Question – Before the KO, there was a moment when you dropped him on the mat with a left kick and a left punch. Was that a Mawashi Geri?
LYOTO – Yes. It was a Mawashi Geri, followed by an Oi Zuki. Even a Japanese reporter said “that doesn’t exist. Never saw that before”, because usually the guy is waiting for the other side. You kick with a side and punches with the other one. In our karate, the Machida Karate, that how it goes. You hit the guy when he’s not waiting, with a blow that he is also not waiting. So we’ve trained a lot of that, the Mawashi Geri, followed by an Oi zuki, almost instantaneously.
Question – So the guy (Evans) was hurt at that point?
LYOTO – He was hurt, fell down, was able to stand up but he didn’t come back the same, because I had already hit him with that combination. That was the right time of the fight.
Question – Tell us about your next commitments?
LYOTO - I’m going to stay in Belém until one week before the fight. During this time I’m focused, I don’t travel. My routine is gym, home, gym. If I have to go to a physiotherapy clinic I will go. That’s basically my routine, what I call concentration. Sometimes we go to a little town inside the country to train. We go with all the team and spend 5 or 6 days training, focusing to be better in the fight and to get out of the city stress. So my commitments are all delayed because of the fight. I always do that 3 months before the fight. I don’t go out anymore, I just get focused to the fight.