Lyoto Machida: I’m not underestimating Rampage Jackson

In a recent interview with TATAME magazine, former UFC light heavyweight Champion Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida said that he is refusing to underestimate Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, who starred as B.A Barracus in the latest A-Team movie, and is also a former UFC light heavyweight Champion. Machida had this to say ahead of their UFC 123 main event showdown: 

“Well, I always think for a MMA fight, despite the specialities of each fighter, and you have to be prepared for anything; because we can never know what the guy is up to. A guy who doesn’t know how to kick may be kicking in the following fight, you can’t tell for sure. The need leads a frog to a jump. We have many examples of people who are good on areas that aren’t their specialities: Georges St. Pierre has improved a lot of wrestling, people that didn’t kick are now kicking and so it goes.

I don’t underestimate any fighter. I think that, just as I’m prepared for anything during the fight, so are they: the stand up game, the takedowns and ground game. Of course we have our game plan set, our strong point is Karate and the exchanges, but if we need to use other skills, we will do the takedowns and the ground game that I train here with Valter Broca, who’s a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, graduated by De La Riva, who always helps me in this area.

I think that Quinton Jackson always comes for the striking, independently of his opponent, he always tries to impose his game, so it’ll be up to me, because he’ll try yo use his boxing and I have to try and block his game and impose mine.”

Machida was then asked, what he thought of Rampage’s comments about him saying that he runs away from his opponents, Lyoto said:

“No, I think that each one has their own way of thinking; I think Quinton is a great fighter, I respect him he always does his game and I try to do mine and keep improving so I can please the audience and the fans all around the world because it’s part of MMA. We have to win and please the public and the fans that cheer for you, you can’t do things on your own.”

Machida was then asked about what he seen for himself in the future, and whether he believes a victory over Rampage will lead him to another title shot and went on to say: 

“I think one step at a time. People talk about Shogun and I don’t keep thinking about Shogun, he’s long gone now. Now I have to think about my next challenge because sometimes we keep thinking about the future, but we can’t even think about the next step, so I think I have to be prepared and I can’t underestimate anyone. Now I’ll have to face Quinton Jackson and there are many factors to consider before I have a title shot. I think it’s best for me to focus on this fight and I’ll welcome whatever comes in the future.”

Evidently The Dragon isn’t looking past Rampage Jackson and is taking this fight very seriously, as he tries to bounce back from his only MMA career loss that came at the hands of current light heavyweight Champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, and with a win could potentially set up the inevitable rubber match between himself and Shogun; who is sidelined with a knee injury and is scheduled to fight Rashad Evans at sometime in 2011, only time will tell.