Brazilian-born Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida astounded the grappling world when he defeated Rashad Evans with karate at the UFC 98 to become the UFC light-heavyweight champion. It was a rare event for a highly trained karate practitioner to win a UFC championship, and fans started referring to his fighting style as “Machida karate.” In 2009, Black Belt named Lyoto Machida its MMA Fighter of the Year.
Born May 30, 1978, Lyoto Carvalho Machida’s enthusiasm for karate and respect for formal training was instilled early by his father, Yoshizo Machida, who was the head of the Brazilian branch of the Japan Karate Association. The young Machida began practicing shotokan karate in 1981 and received his black belt at age 13. At age 12, he trained in sumo wrestling, and three years later, Lyoto Machida entered the Brazilian jiu-jitsu movement. With years of karate and sumo tournament success under his belt, Lyoto Machida debuted at the UFC 67 in 2007.