The middleweight clash between Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold will establish more than just a future contender for the 185 division. Machida, has heard that he and Rockhold are considered two of the best-looking men in the UFC from female fans. And while the compliment is nice, he says none of that gets to his head during fight night. However, The Dragon guaranteed one of them will leave the Octagon uglier than before.
"I hear people talking about it, but I try not to focus too much on that. I look to focus on my strategy" He told Combate."At that moment, beauty won't make a difference, it doesn't matter if you're good looking or not. Your technique, your drive, that's what you should carry with you. I try to become a more complete fighter everyday, so I leave that for the fans and people who enjoy that while I focus on the fight. But I know one thing, I want to leave the same way I entered. I think somebody will leave this fight uglier and it'll be Rockhold".
Machida also spoke of the dangers in Rockhold's game and of how close to title contention either of them would be with a good win come Saturday night.
"Luke is a guy I asked to fight even before I fought Dollaway. I thought he was the closest guy to me, ranking wise. I think it'll be a great opportunity for the both of us to show our work. Who knows, maybe the winner can even get the chance to fight for the belt. If I'm not mistaken, his last loss was to Vitor Belfort, which was a fight Vitor surprised me. I think Luke is a well-rounded guy, he was the Strikeforce champion, has defeated many well-known guys and can fight on the ground or standing up. He trains at AKA which is a gym filled with wrestlers, so he's ready for an MMA fight".
Though things between Rockhold and Machida have been cordial for most of the time, Luke did try to stir things up a bit when he said he wasn't impressed with Lyoto's win over C.B. Dollaway. He also asked for more antidoping tests for anybody who trains at Blackhouse, after a series of drug test failures for the gym. Machida, however, says the attempt to get in his mind wasn't successful.
"He tried to play mind games and to promote the fight, but I always look to respect my opponent because I come from a very traditional martial art, which is karate. In karate, there's a lot of respect. In fact, when an opponent accepts to fight me, he's giving me a chance to show my work, so I can't diminish him at all. Even if he loses, whatever he does, I think there should always exist respect between fighters. So I prefer to respect him and follow the martial arts principles I learned".
Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold will headline UFC on Fox 15, which will take place in Newark, New Jersey, on April 18.