Photo from Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
"The Natural," widely regarded as the single greatest gameplanner in the history of MMA, had no answer for Machida, who has clearly evolved since dropping consecutive fights to Mauricio Rua and Quinton Jackson, respectively.
Machida made no bones about the fact that he was honored to have been chosen by the Hall of Famer to be his final fight. After such a legendary career, if nothing else, the Brazilian would earn added fame simply by association.
That was before the Crane kick, shades of "The Karate Kid."
Shortly into the second round, Machida sent Couture to the mat in a heap of sagging flesh, jarring his brain inside his skull and loosening up a few teeth in the process.
Unsurprisingly, Steven Seagal was just around the corner, ready to take his share of the credit. But does he deserve it? Let's hear it straight from "The Dragon's" mouth:
"This kick is from Karate, it's the Kanku Dai," Machida told Tatame.com. "When I started my preparation, after I did a hernia surgery, I couldn't do everything in training, so my father (Yoshizo) told me to train three or four types of kicks and use them in sparring, but very carefully, because they hurt a lot, it's like the elbow. When I came to Canada I met Steven Seagal, and he told 'Lyoto, this kick will hit.' But I wasn't worried to use it or not, I'd do it if the opportunity came. I came more relaxed to the second round and hit that. It's not like it came from nowhere. ... Everybody at the stadium called me ‘Karate Kid' after that (laughs)."
Seagal gets partial credit, at the very least.
No matter who is responsible for helping him train it, Machida is the man that actually went into the cage and executed it. This just a few short months removed from his stablemate, Anderson Silva, landing a similar kick in his fight against Vitor Belfort.
And with UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones looking as dominant as the Karate master once did, thoughts have turned to how Lyoto would do in a fight against the lanky but overpowering wrestler.
If last night (April 30) was any indication, he would, at the very least, hold his own. Is he well on his way to another shot at the 205-pound title that was so viciously ripped away from him just one year ago?