Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Don't Go Building the Statues Just Yet

Yes, his win at UFC 98 was dominant and very impressive.

Yes, his style is very hard to attack and equally hard to defend.

Yes, he is undefeated and has beaten some great fighters.

But the last two of those were true before he put Rashad Evans to sleep on Saturday night and no one - literally no one - was putting Lyoto Machida in the rarefied air alongside Fedor and Anderson Silva before that fight, so why all the adoration now?

Simple - everyone wants to be backing the best horse. Now that Machida has proven to be "The Man" at 205 in the UFC and Dana White has commented that we might have just entered "The Machida Era," everyone wants to be Supporter #1 and put the Brazilian on a pedestal with some of the best ever... and it drives me insane!

This isn't sour grapes from a guy who picked Evans either; my first piece following the fight was full of high praise for "The Dragon" and I too believe he could go on a dominant run. But shouldn't we let him get through that first title defense before we go building monuments in his honour?

After all, that first defense has been a killer in recent memory.

It's the only successful defense Rampage made, Forrest Griffin couldn't get through it and neither could "Sugar" Rashad. It's a whole new world with a belt around your waist and everyone trains that much harder to take it away from you. That's why you'll hear everyone say you're not a true champion until you've defended your belt.

Not to take anything away from Griffin or Evans, but I stand by that 100%.

Machida hasn't even had enough time to fully comprehend the scope of what happened Saturday night - title, spotlight, fame, money, opportunities - and people have him going on an unbeaten run through the division.

The beauty of guys like Fedor and Anderson Silva is that we've witnessed seen them dominant in their divisions and nothing can change what happened. It's historical fact and extremely rare.

Why don't we let Lyoto Machida get a fight or two under his brand new belt before putting him in such illustrious company?

And if he does lose his first time out, be sure not to throw him under the bus unless you're going with him.

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