Derek Brunson really isn’t sure which Lyoto Machida he’ll be facing off against Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 119.
But Brunson plans on finishing the fight regardless.
Machida, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, returns to action for the first time since 2015 following a drug suspension.
“I don’t know how he is doing, I’m not sure,” Brunson said. “But I think of him as the Machida of always – fast and agile on his feet. I can’t think about the last fights, in which his opponents were able to take him down with ease.”
Overall, Machida is just 1-3 in his last four fights, but the losses have come vs. former champions Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman, along with top contender Yoel Romero. “The Dragon” won the UFC title vs. Rashad Evans and holds wins over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Randy Couture and Gegard Mousasi to his name.
Brunson is looking to finish off 2017 on a high note after knocking out Dan Kelly in June. That snapped a two-fight losing skid that came in bouts vs. Anderson Silva and Robert Whittaker.
“To arrive on Saturday and submit. I’m a first round guy,” he said. “The perfect ending would be a victory in the first round. I see myself walking in the Octagon and waiting for my moment. I know everyone expects me to wrestle and for him to stay on his feet, but I feel comfortable in any area.”