If Chinzo Machida’s success keeps coming, he may just find himself inching closer to a title shot in the featherweight division. 3-0 sounds awfully nice, after all. So has he spoke with the promotion about any future plans?
“I don’t worry about that now” said Machida. “Lets see the next step after my big fight, after this fight. After my victory, we can talk more about my future. For now, I try to do my best in my career, and lets see what [will be] the next steps.”
“For sure, the title is the goal,” he added, “but I don’t care too much about that now. I have to demonstrate my skill first.”
Skill is something the Brazilian has in abundance. Yet time may not be on his side. At age forty, in a lower weight class where speed is key, it’s something to take into consideration. Yet it’s not as big a factor as you might expect.
“Actually, to tell the truth, I feel much better now than when I was twenty years old” exclaimed the fighter. “Now, I feel a very completed fighter. Now I have more experience, now I have more good conditioning, now I have more techniques. So [this] is the best time of my career as an athlete, as a fighter.” How long does he intend to keep competing at this level? “Maybe three or four more years, I don’t know and you never know, lets see little by little what’s going on.”
Feeling better at forty than twenty? Just how is a secret we’d no doubt all love to know. As Machida explained it, “I train smarter now, I train not to get hurt. My mental strength is much better now, because I do some kind of exercises that make me more confident, that make me believe in myself.”
“That stuff helps me a lot to keep fighting at this age, and it’s actually better now than before.”
At Bellator 180, Chinzo Machida will not only be facing perhaps his most notable opponent to date, but he’ll be doing it on the biggest stage to date in his career as well. So for him, does Madison Square Garden — which has played host to any number of legendary boxers, including Frazier and Ali — have any special meaning?
“For me, I’m so happy to fight at Madison Square Garden. I’m glad, and honored to fight there especially because of many of the good fighters that already fought there” an enthused Machida told us. No jitters, either. “I’m so glad, I’m so happy, I’m not afraid to fight there. It’s the opposite, I’m excited to fight there, for sure.”
With the fight against Gallagher in New York, the Brazilian will have fought in three bouts in just under twelve months. That’s a vastly increased output for the fighter — so is it a pace he can keep up?
“Yes, yes sure. I [want to fight] one more time, maybe two more times before the end of the year.” Any particular opponent? “Any fight that [Bellator] is gonna put [me in] I’m ready!”
Bellator 180 takes place June 24 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. The card airs live on Spike TV prior to the Bellator NYC Pay-per-View.