This Friday, two MMA veterans will face off at the world-famous Madison Square Garden as former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida takes on Chael Sonnen at Bellator 222.
According to Machida, the lead-up to the fight hasn’t been what he expected it to be, as his opponent’s well-known trash talk has been conspicuously absent. The 41-year-old Brazilian spoke to MMA Junkie Radio ahead of the fight and said he appreciates the respect that Sonnen has shown him so far but would actually prefer the old Sonnen if only to promote their much anticipated fight this Friday.
“He’s very respectful of me, and I appreciate that,” he said. “But actually, I’d like him to promote the fight a little bit more, because he knows how to do that. I’m not worried about trash talk. If it’s going to be good for the fight, I’m OK, man.”
Machida’s debut for Bellator back in December was a success, as he beat Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 213 by split decision, admitting afterwards that he had some “Bellator cage jitters” before the fight. Now that his first fight is over and the nerves are gone, he claims he can’t wait to fight again, starting with Sonnen.
“I was a little bit concerned about my first fight (in Bellator) because, as a fighter, you never know,” he said. “When you step into a different cage sometimes you can feel the pressure. My fight was against a very tough opponent, Rafael Carvalho, who’s a former middleweight champion. Now I can’t wait to step in there again.”
Machida said despite being the co-main event he isn’t too concerned, knowing that he’ll get a chance to headline a major event in the future.
“Bellator has to do what’s going to be the best for the event,” he said of being placed behind the Rory MacDonald-Neiman Gracie welterweight title bout. “I’ll have my turn. I’ll have my chance to have a main event in Bellator. I know I’ll have to wait a little bit, but soon I’ll be fighting for the title or something like that.”