In a sport where even the most dominant competitors have the scars to prove it, light-heavyweight Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida has barely taken a scratch in 15 fights. The 6’1″, 205-pounder from Belem, Brazil, who just became the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light-heavyweight king last Saturday, has an elusive style and refined technique that have earned him impressive victories over mixed martial arts’ household names, including Rashad Evans, BJ Penn, and Rich Franklin. He recently told us how he gets it done.
Your first fighting style was Karate. Has that given you an advantage competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)?
Other fighters don’t train Karate for MMA. The discipline and philosophy I learned are the most important. I also use many of the techniques—the timing and knowledge of distance in a fight.
Your fighting style is very unusual. How would you describe it?
I describe it as precise. It’s as if you had only a few bullets to shoot down a tiger—you have to be precise and can’t fire a wrong shot. Precision and not taking any shots is very important to me.
What do you do for strength and conditioning?
I train to gain strength and power. I do my strength work with a lot of weight, then I reduce the weight by 30% and do explosive reps. The explosive training simulates the point in a fight where you have to deliver continuous powerful strikes to end the fight.
You’ve said that you drink your own urine. Not that we’d ever try it in a million years, but what benefits do you think it has?
I feel very well doing this. It is something I learned from my father when I was young. It really strengthens my immune system, and those who have tried this say there is no harm. I really don’t recommend it to anyone. It’s something my father passed on to me.
How do you want to be remembered in the sport?
I want to be champion and face the toughest guys in my weight class. I want to be remembered as someone who showed the world great martial arts philosophy, and as someone who defended Brazil and Karate. I want to be remembered as a respectful and well-educated man.