Lyoto Machida Biography and Fighting Information
By Robert Rousseau
Lyoto Machida getting ready to finish Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou on December 29, 2007 at UFC 79: Nemesis (photo courtesy of Sherdog).
December 31, 2007:
When Lyoto Machida was being presented to the crowd for his fight against Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, the announcer called him “a karate fighter.” People that have only a limited understanding of mixed martial arts probably didn’t realize that was unusual. You see, most karate practitioners didn’t do very well in the early UFC’s when it was more about the style than the person.
Said another way, even karate fighters with terrific resumes like Minoki Ichihara were beaten rather easily by grapplers like Royce Gracie.
So for it to be announced that Lyoto Machida was a karate fighter was like saying that he didn’t have a strong mixed martial arts background to many. Then again, this Shotokan Karate master continually shows that the things he learned way back when while studying the art form he attaches himself to most were not without worth. Machida throws pinpoint strikes in mixed martial arts matches as he was taught in Karate; his punches are always straight; he’s hard to hit; he utilizes a Karate leg sweep often; and his kicks not only hurt, they’re also as accurate as most people’s punches. By the way, within Machida’s kicking arsenal is a back kick that was clearly born from Karate.
In other words, he’s a technician just as a Shotokan Karate master should be. Does that make him exciting? Not necessarily as you’ll read later. Does it make him next in line for a UFC Light Heavyweight title shot? Well, he seems to think so.
“This being my fourth victory after tonight, I believe that I’m ready for a title shot. I want the belt,” said Machida confidently before the Sokoudjou match, a fight that he won rather easily by submission.
But enough on that for now. First. . .
Lyoto Machida : The early years
Lyoto Machida was born in Belem, Brazil on May 30, 1978. He is the son of Shotokan Karate master Yoshizo Machida, and due to this started studying Karate at the age of three.
One of Machida’s brothers, Chinzo, is a vice- champion in Shotokan (Australia 2006). His other brother, Kenzo, is a rather well-known television journalist. Talk about talent, huh?
Along with this, Lyoto Machida won numerous amateur competitions in Karate including the 2001 Pan American Karate Tournament as a youngster. However, both Lyoto and his father seemed to understand that the true path to martial arts prowess did not lie in learning only one fighting style.
In other words, just because they knew Shotokan didn’t mean they were invincible. Thus, the youthful Lyoto Machida also began studying Sumo at age 12 and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at age 15. Further, his learning curve didn’t stop there.
In college- where Machida eventually achieved a Physical Education degree- he met Antonio Inoki, a well-known Japanese professional wrestler. Soon after he began training at the New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo in Tokyo, Japan. In and around that time, Machida also began training in Muay Thai.
Lyoto Machida and mixed martial arts
Lyoto Machida is currently 12-0 with three (T)KO’s and two submission victories to his credit in mixed martial arts fights. He achieved his first victory, a decision over Kengo Watanabe on May 2, 2003, in a New Japan Pro Wrestling event. In his next fight, Machida TKO’d current UFC and former TUF 1 star Stephan Bonnar in the first round.
Some of the fighters that have fallen to Machida during his career? How about B.J. Penn (decision), Rich Franklin (second round TKO), Vernon White (decision), Sam Hoger (decision), David Heath (decision), Kazuhiro Nakamura (decision), and now Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (second round submission). Further, he has won all four of his fights in the UFC, the first of which took place on February 3, 2007 against Sam Hoger.
Lyoto Machida and Black House
Let’s talk snipers. You know, the kind of stand up fighters that are able to destroy other people on their feet with pinpoint accuracy, speed, and power. Who comes to mind first?
Anderson Silva. And that’s exactly who Lyoto Machida now trains with at Black House, a place that was started in late 2006 by the the two of them, the Nogueira brothers, Assuerio Silva, and Vitor Belfort.
The final word on Lyoto Machida (for now)
Lyoto Machida has certainly beaten some talent in his day. Of course, that comes with being an undefeated mixed martial artist that has been competing at the highest level for some time now. Still, there is an oft indicated knock on him. Is it fair? You decide.
People currently say that Machida is a rather boring fighter (though his submission victory over Sokoudjou may quell the naysayers for awhile). The interesting thing, however, is that traditional martial arts, for the most part, are designed to teach someone how to escape an encounter without being hurt. That’s exactly what Lyoto Machida has been able to do for the majority of his career. He’s a tough guy; he’s certainly not afraid to mix it up. But why come forward full speed in an ignorant manner when you can pick your opponent apart?
Besides, styles make fights. Machida’s encounters will likely become more exciting when he throws done with some of the more aggressive fighters in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight Divison. People such as Forrest Griffin, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Houston Alexander, Thiago Silva, and/ or Wanderlei Silva are just some of the names that would likely make for good matchups.
So does Lyoto Machida deserve the title shot that he is asking for? Rather than answer that, here’s another question: Are there any other undefeated UFC Light Heavyweights that have beaten the same level of competition as Machida out there right now?
Wikipedia - Anderson Silva
Wikipedia - Lyoto Machida