Although Luke Rockhold has been turning heads lately by scoring three, consecutive finishes, Lyoto Machida sounds pretty confident heading into their UFC on FOX 15 scrap.
Of course, for some time, Rockhold was widely considered to be one of the top middleweights outside of the UFC, and since he joined the promotion in 2013, the former Strikeforce champ has gone 3-1. Rockhold’s UFC run got off to a bad start, as he was KO’d by Vitor Belfort in his Octagon debut, but since then the American has finished Costas Philippou, Tim Boetsch, and Michael Bisping.
Due to what Rockhold has showcased in his recent outings, many pundits believe the 30 year-old could challenge for the title in the not so distant future, if he can get by Machida. Well, recently “The Dragon” spoke to MMA Fighting.com about the April 18th fight and Rockhold, and here is some of what he had to say:
“I think this is a good fight for me,” Machida said. “He has a good striking, but I’m ready. If the fight goes to the ground, I will also be ready for everything he does, and I will try to surprise him as well. He’s a top 5, he’s been doing great in his fights and his ground game is really good, but I can go to the ground with him and do well. His ground game doesn’t scare me at all.”
Of course, considering Machida’s abilities and accomplishments, it’s not surprising to hear that the Brazilian is feeling pretty good about his chances heading into the bout. It’s a very important fight at 185, since Machida is ranked #3 and Rockhold is positioned at #5. Machida also acknowledged in the interview that he wants to challenge for the title once again, but for now, he’s focused on Rockhold.
Machida fought the champ Weidman last July, and ended up losing the memorable fight via unanimous decision. The 36 year-old, former light-heavyweight champ returned to action in December, and Machida took out CB Dollaway with an opening round, liver kick.
UFC on FOX 15 will be hosted by the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, and will also feature a pivotal middleweight bout between contenders Yoel Romero and “Jacare” Souza.