Ryu has always been my favorite fictional fighter, ever since Street Fighter 2. Now, as much as I think Anderson Silva, and GSP are ranked #1 & #2 as far as pound for pound best fighters in MMA, and as much as I am a huge admirer and fan of “The Prodigy” BJ Penn, I gotta say, Lyoto Machida has risen to the top of my list. I have become a fan boy of his, and for several reasons, but oddly enough, the main reason being he resembles my child hood idol Ryu! Doesn’t he? I hope I’m not the only one who noticed this. (Obviously not, I didn’t create that picture above.)
Anyway, take away his cartoon twin, and Machida would still have the jump on other MMA fighters as a favorite in my eyes for several other reasons. He’s Japanese (although not necessarily from there) , and I am deeply fascinated with their culture, from fashion, food, to Anime and art. So for the simple fact that he was born with the blood of the land of the “Rising Sun” in him, I am a fan. I admit, these two reasons to be a fan of someone are quite, well … ridiculous. So on to the good stuff.
He has a truly unorthodox fighting style, including his fighting stance. It’s a blend of Shotokan Karate, and of course the staple of MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I believe he has some Muay Thai influence in there as well. Whatever the case, this hodge-podge fighting style has him undefeated (15-0) and ranked #4 overall by www.sherdog.com. He’s had several tough matches which includes defeating UFC great Tito Ortiz, but I think his past two fights are most notable to his rise in popularity. First he man-handled a favored opponent in Thiago Silva in one round, and handed Silva who at the time was undefeated as well, his first loss. Then he took out Rashad Evans in a title bout, and I mean, he knocked him out cold.
If you didn’t think he was the real deal then, what sport are you watching? But back to combining fantasy with reality, it’s funny how Machida shares similar characteristics with Ryu in their personality as well as their appearance. Most notably, they’re both very soft-spoken fighters, it seems both are just looking to be the best at what they do. Wait, this is crazy!!! It’s as if I truly believe that Lyoto Machida is some real life manifestation of Ryu! Anyway, Machida will headline UFC 104 as he takes on Mauricio Shogun Rua in the Light Heavy Weight Title bout in two weeks. A win here should solidify his spot as one of the best in the game today if it isn’t already secured. But you know what would really be cool? If he fights with a red headband this time around! Hadoken!