MENU
#Cris Cyborg #Conor McGregor #UFC 211 #Angela Magana #Bellator 179 #Nate Diaz #Rory MacDonald #Paul Daley #Jon Jones #UFC 202


LAS VEGAS – Lyoto Machida is 36 now, and at something of a crossroads in his mixed martial arts career.

He retains a youthful visage and shows no signs of age, either in his body or his fighting style.

On Saturday, though, he'll become only the ninth man in history to fight for a UFC world title at age 36 or older when he challenges Chris Weidman for the middleweight belt in the main event of UFC 175 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

The previous eight fighters to have done so – Maurice Smith, Dan Severn, Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Gil Castillo, Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson – combined to go 13-15 in championship bouts when they were 36 or older.

Couture fought half of the UFC title bouts involving a fighter 36 or older, going 8-6. That means that Smith, Severn, Liddell, Castillo, Silva, Sonnen and Henderson only went 5-9 in their title shots.

That's just a .357 winning percentage, which doesn't portend good news for Machida against the 30-year-old Weidman.

Weidman, who will be 30 years, 18 days old on fight night, is the third oldest of the nine reigning UFC champions.

The UFC's champions are relative babies compared to the likes of Severn, Couture and Liddell. Heavyweight Cain Velasquez, at 31, is the oldest. Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks is 30, but is nine months older than Weidman.

Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones remains the youngest, at 26. Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, featherweight champion Jose Aldo, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey are all 27.

Newly crowned bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw is 28.

Lyoto Machida, right, kicks Gegard Mousasi during their middleweight fight in February. (Getty Images)
Machida, as expected, shrugs off the concerns about his age, other than to concede he doesn't recover as quickly from workouts.

"I have to train a lot smarter, but that is one of the things I've learned over the years, how to do things better and get the same result," Machida said. "I don't recover as quickly at 36 as I did at 26, but I'm smarter and more intelligent now than I was then. That makes a big difference. I'm more efficient."

He won the light heavyweight title from Rashad Evans in 2009 when he was a week from his 31st birthday.

He successfully defended it once, against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, before losing the belt in a rematch with Rua.

He's been on a mission to regain it ever since and, since dropping to middleweight earlier this year, feels as good as has since he knocked out Evans and began what many expected to become known as "The Machida Era."

Having been to the pinnacle, Machida said he knows what it takes to get there, and is better now for having gone through a year with the belt.

"I'm more experienced as a fighter, obviously, and that makes a difference and will be helpful to me," Machida said. "But as a man, I'm more experienced in life. I have experienced a lot of victories and I've been through some defeats and tough times. But I've learned from all of that and I'm a smarter, better person than I was before."

His competitors have had five years to figure out the elusive, karate-centric style Machida uses. Those five years have robbed him a bit of his quickness, as well.

He's won four of his last five, dropping only a decision to Phil Davis, and he defeated the red-hot Gegard Mousasi in his last outing.

But the loss to Davis, a fighter with wrestling as his base, seems like a bad sign for Machida going against Weidman, also a wrestler but with more striking power than Davis.

Machida is fourth all-time in takedown defense at 83.8 percent, but Weidman is fourth in takedown accuracy at 68.2 percent, according to FightMetric.

The fight could be decided by whether Machida can remain upright and counter Weidman's punches or whether Weidman is able to put Machida on his back.

When a fighter whose game is based on elusiveness is no longer as elusive that often spells trouble. Machida hasn't fundamentally changed his style since his championship days.

But he said the drop to middleweight has made a massive difference. He's been able to add both strength and speed. And because of that, he doesn't view this as a pressure-packed, last-hurrah type of fight.

He's confident he'll win, but he isn't going to burden himself with thoughts of his age.

"I feel the difference at this weight, and it's all to my benefit," Machida said. "I'm much stronger but at the same time, I'm much faster. I felt I was a fast fighter at 205 pounds, but I've gotten even faster and quicker. And now when I'm fighting guys who aren't as big, my strength will be even more of an advantage.

"So I'm not feeling pressure or any sense of urgency. I'm the best I've ever been, in terms of my skills, my understanding of what is going on in the Octagon and my conditioning. I'm confident that if I do what I've trained to do, I can win this title. My age isn't a factor at all, in my opinion."

More UFC coverage from Yahoo Sports:

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC titleholder Tyron Woodley returns in July: 'Champ camp just kicked off'

  • 26 days ago
  • 43 views

It appears UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will fit a title defense into his busy schedule.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk plans on being two-division titleholder

  • 12 days ago
  • 7 views

DALLAS – Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is back on some familiar turf this week for her UFC 211 co-headliner. Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC read news >>

Daniel Cormier Responds to Jon Jones Saying He’s Not a Champion | MMAWeekly.com

  • 4 days ago
  • 16 views

UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former titleholder Jon Jones have a storied history. Jones holds a win over Cormier. read news >>

Chas Skelly on Jason Knight scrap: 'There's only room for one redneck in this 145-pound UFC trailer park'

  • 29 days ago
  • 10 views

Set to face Jason Knight at UFC 211, featherweight Chas Skelly couldn’t be happier with the chance to count on massive presence from his hometown of Azle, Texas, at the Dallas card.Filed under: News, read news >>

Report: Luan Chagas vs. Jim Wallhead booked for UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro

  • 28 days ago
  • 4 views

The UFC’s lineup for its return to Brazil in June continues to grow with the addition of a welterweight fight. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

England's Darren Till meets Germany's Jessin Ayari at UFC Fight Night 109 in Sweden

  • 28 days ago
  • 6 views

A welterweight fight is the latest addition to next month’s UFC return to Sweden.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

David Michaud Looking to LFA Fight Night 1 to Propel Him Back to the UFC | MMAWeekly.com

  • 28 days ago
  • 4 views

David Michaud has his second fight in as many months when he matches up with Jake Lindsey in the LFA: Sioux Falls Fight Night 1 main event on Friday. read news >>

Stevie Ray says he almost finished Joe Lauzon at UFC Fight Night 108 and wishes he had

  • 28 days ago
  • 12 views

The only thing Stevie Ray wishes about the biggest win of his career is that he’d have finished Joe Lauzon to avoid all talk of scoring controversy.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2431 with Bas Rutten and Stevie Ray

  • 28 days ago
  • 2 views

Stream or download Monday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with Bas Rutten and Stevie Ray.Filed under: News, Radio, UFC read news >>

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with new UFC Hall of Famer Maurice Smith, Ovince Saint Preux

  • 28 days ago
  • 1 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Maurice Smith and Ovince Saint Preux.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>