Return of the Dragon: MMAmania.com UFC 113 interview exclusive with Lyoto Machida

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Lyoto Machida is human after all.

Mauricio Rua proved it to the world with a phenomenal game plan against the undefeated light heavyweight champion at UFC 104 back in October 2009.

The judges did not feel it was good enough to earn the victory however, and scored it a controversial unanimous decision for the defending champion. Consequently, President Dana White immediately scheduled a rematch.

Rounds six through ten will play out at UFC 113 on May 8 from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Will "Shogun" be able to employ and be successful with the same game plan he used previously? Will he be able to find another avenue to victory? Or will Machida see it all coming a mile away this time?

The answers will have to wait until the main event culminates late Saturday evening.

In the meantime, "The Dragon" took some time out to discuss teammate Anderson Silva's UFC 112 performance (and antics), whether he's changed his tune with regards to fighting him and what kind of game plan he expects the second time around from Rua.

Check it out:

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): First of all, what were your overall impressions of Anderson Silva's performance against Demian Maia at UFC 112?

Lyoto Machida: It's hard to judge a fight and an athlete's actions from a spectator point of view. I was not at that fight. I think that Anderson is a highly skilled athlete and he shows that in every fight. Demian Maia is a top fighter in his division with great jiu-jitsu skills, but I think Anderson had more weapons in that fight.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Did you feel like Anderson was disrespecting Demian in any way during the fight or being unsportsmanlike?

Lyoto Machida: Everyone has their own style. It's not easy to judge.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Why do you think Anderson didn't perform up to the expectations that both the UFC and the fans had set for him?

Lyoto Machida: People expect that Anderson will go and knockout everyone in the UFC. Sometimes it works out and you impose your game plan and finish the fight, which is everyone's goal, but sometimes it doesn't happen. It doesn't mean he is any less of a fighter or a champion.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you think he feels unchallenged or unmotivated by the opponents being given to him?

Lyoto Machida: I think he, like any fighter, likes to be challenged but he does not underestimate his opponents. He knows that when you step in the octagon you are equals.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): If the UFC came to you and said they needed to find Anderson a big challenge to give the fans what they feel they deserve, would you be open to possibly fighting him in the future or is that never going to be a possibility?

Lyoto Machida: Anderson is a close friend and training partner. We have no interest in fighting each other.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Of course, you're fighting Mauricio Rua again at UFC 113. You fought Rua at UFC 104 already and won a decision. When the judge's scorecards were being read after the conclusion of your original meeting, did you feel confident that you had done enough to earn the victory?

Lyoto Machida: I knew I had won the first, second, and third rounds. And even the fourth round, which was neck in neck.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Did your injured left hand hamper you in any way during your UFC 104 fight with Rua? 

Lyoto Machida: My hand was injured from many years of training and fighting and it had been bothering me for some time, since before joining the UFC I think.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Did you feel like Rua deserved an immediate rematch with you as opposed to you fighting another top flight light heavyweight instead?

Lyoto Machida: When Dana White said he wanted a rematch I accepted it right away.  If anyone has any doubts about who won that fight I want to clear it up.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Rua had the most success against you than anyone else has had in your UFC career. Could that fight have been a blessing in disguise, as it has allowed you to sure up holes in your game in training that you may not have known existed?

Lyoto Machida: I think that you learn a lot in every fight no matter who you are fighting against and no matter the result. I learned a lot in that fight as well and it has helped me to improve.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): What, specifically, have you focused on in your training for the rematch with Rua in order to improve?

Lyoto Machida: Rematches are interesting because both guys already know each other so you have to work harder. I prepared myself for everything.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you expect Rua to come out and attack you with the same basic game plan he had success with at UFC 104?

Lyoto Machida: It's hard to say what he may try to do. All I can say is that I am prepared for everything. I am prepared as a whole.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you have an answer in store for Rua this time around if he tries to continue to punish your legs and your mid-section with kicks and try to accumulate damage?

Lyoto Machida: If he decides to impose the same game plan I will be ready. Wherever this fight goes I am confident.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): If you are fortunate enough to come away with a victory over Rua do you have a preference as to who you would fight next?

Lyoto Machida: As the champion I will fight the best and I am ready for that. Anyone who the UFC puts to challenge my title I will be ready.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): The logical next title challenger could be the winner of the UFC 114 fight between Rashad Evans & Quinton Jackson. Who do you think will win this fight and why?

Lyoto Machida: There is a lot of hype for that fight and it's a tough one for both Quinton and Rashad. I will be watching closely.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Any message you would like to pass along to your fans or sponsors you would like to thank before we go?

Lyoto Machida: Thanks to all my fans for all the support through the years and thanks to my sponsors. I hope everyone enjoys my rematch against Shogun Rua.

Derek Bolender is a frequent contributor to MMAmania.com. He is also a freelance writer who has contributed to outlets such as CBSSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, and FoxSports.com in the past. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekBolender.

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