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Midnight Mania! Older, wiser Machida says layoff has given him perspective: “Life is a fight”

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UFC Fight Night: Machida vs Rockhold Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Lyoto Machida has returned from the wilderness with wisdom. He found himself facing an 18-month suspension for being honest with USADA about his use of what he said he didn’t know was a banned substance. In his time away from the sport, he has stopped comparing himself to others, and focused on himself instead: “What can I do to improve? What can I do to enjoy life?” He broke down his advances in personal philosophy for

Most of the things I’ve been learning throughout this year and these months that I’ve been out was outside the octagon,” Machida told MMAjunkie today. “Our life is a fight. You have to face so many problems in your life. When something happens in your life, sometimes you don’t know how to act or what to do. That happened with me as soon as the episode happened about the doping.

“At the beginning, I was very stressed. I was very emotionally affected. Then, a couple months later, I could move (past) everything. But it was difficult because I had to accept everything. When you don’t accept everything, you’re going to struggle over and over again.”

This newfound acceptance didn’t take away his love for fighting, however. He also said he missed every moment of fight week, and is grateful to be back. His perspective on his very long layoff?

“What I can say is, I’m more mature now. I have more experience. Everything just give more power.”

He also talked about the specifics of facing Derek Brunson, a tough opponent but not the biggest name in the division:

My life is all about challenge. So I like to challenge myself, I like to pursue a dream. I have to have a reason to do something. I don’t want to do something just to do something. So, when I decided to come back, I said to my manager, I would like to have a challenge. I would like to have something that push me so hard, in training, mentally, physically. So that’s what happened. They chose Derek Brunson. I accept right away, I said, no problem. I want this. I know he’s strong. But everyone’s strong... that’s the mindset you have to have. I don’t want to, how you say, underestimate anybody. I wanna keep in my mind that he’s the strongest guy that I’m gonna face.

Indeed, the 39-year-old Machida is currently an underdog to the 33-year-old Brunson.

He said that Brunson’s style should play into his strengths, and said explicitly he will be looking to catch Brunson with a counter.

I believe that he’s gonna be a good matchup for me. Because he’s an explosive fighter, he likes to attack, and I’m a counterattack fighter. I’m more about speed, distance, and precision. That’s what I’m gonna try to catch.

He said his desire to be the best in the world hasn’t gone away. It is a fire that burns brightly.

This is not over. This is a burning desire. That’s the reason that I come back. I don’t have any reason. The reason that I come back is, I like to challenge myself, I like to pursue the dream. That’s what I want to do.


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Podcasts and Video

The MMA Outsiders, Episode 2 with MMA Mania’s own Andrew Richardson. Andrew said he isn’t optimistic about Machida’s chances on a two-year layoff, and that he finds Colby Covington entertaining. I agree with one of those statements. I also got the chance to talk to Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s strength and conditioning coach, Phil Daru, at the 57 minute mark. Check us out on SoundCloud as well as iTunes and Stitcher on the official MMA Mania channel!

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Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality