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Machida Confident He Can Solve the Jones Puzzle

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Last time Lyoto Machida was in Toronto, he wasn’t exactly the crowd favourite. He had the misfortune of being matched against one of the sport’s most beloved fighters ever, Randy “The Natural” Couture. What’s more, he took a move straight out of “The Karate Kid” and crane kicked Couture directly into retirement.

“That victory was very important to me because I have a lot of respect for Randy Couture,” Machida said through his manager/interpreter Ed Soares. “I wasn’t used to having most of the fans on the opponent’s side….hopefully this time around I would gladly accept the fans being on my side.”

The man known as “The Dragon” may get his wish. He is challenging for the title belonging to Jon “Bones” Jones, one of the most talented yet polarizing figures in the sport today. ┬áThe two meet Saturday night in a clash of two of the most unique styles in all of mixed martial arts.

Machida feels he is a wiser, more mature fighter than the one who took the MMA world by storm and had Joe Rogan proclaiming the dawn of the “Machida era” before losing his title to Mauricio ‘”Shogun” Rua and dropping a decision to Rampage Jackson.

“I’m in a much more mature stage in my life. I’ve experienced everything now. I’ve experienced what it’s like to be a champion, I’ve experienced what it’s like to lose. I’ve experienced what it’s like to be knocked down and what it’s like to come back. As a fighter and a man, I’m more mature and I’m better prepared than I was a year ago.”

When asked if he saw any mistakes or flaws in Jones’ technique, Machida nodded sagely.

“I did notice some of the things he was doing wrong that maybe some of his other opponents didn’t catch on to. I studied his tapes well and the things I have seen, I’ll show on Saturday night.”

The two men are known for their ability to control distance. Jones using his reach and Machida with his movement. Asked what will be a bigger factor, Machida quickly answered “my movement” and said no more. He is the picture of the man who has been to the top of the mountain and knows exactly what he needs to do to get back to the summit. If he walks away with the title Saturday night, he may very well hear the cheers of the Toronto crowd he missed last time.

Twitter: @carlinbardsley

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