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UFC 104 Preview: Will Lyoto Machida Emerge As A SuperStar With A Win Over Shogun Rua?

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Lyoto Machida's fight against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 104 will mark his 8th fight inside the UFC since arriving on the scene on the undercard of UFC 67, where he outpointed TUF 1 alum Sam Hoger for the unanimous decision win.  Machida then followed that up with dominant decision wins against lesser known fighters David Heath and Kazuhiro Nakamura.  After the Nakamura bout, Machida was featured on the main card of UFC 79 which had a huge ppv buyrate as most year end UFC events do.  Then he was featured on the heavily promoted UFC 84 bout against Tito Oritz, who at the time was on the outs with UFC president Dana White and what was said to be his last UFC fight(we knew better). He was then featued in the co-main event of the heavily viewed UFC 94 which featured the BJ Penn vs. GSP fight as the main event.  At UFC 98, Machida finally made main event status himself as he challenged Rashad Evans for the UFC light heavyweight title.  Of course, Machida went on to destroy Evans to become the UFC light heavyweight champion.  UFC 98 reportedly had a ppv buyrate in excess of 600K. 

So here he have Lyoto Machida who began his UFC career as an under card fighter, but progressively found himself on heavily promoted UFC ppv events.  At the same time, he has continously implemented a more aggressive form of his Machida karate to put his opponents away impressively.  His ability to speak the English language fluently has drastically improved, and he can even make subtle jokes with the media now.  Shogun Rua will be the third top ten fighter that Machida has faced in a row.  Machida received a huge ovation after his win over Thiago Silva at UFC 94 as well as when he defeated Rashad Evans at UFC 98.  So if you look at the entire picture, Machida has had a ton of exposure to the fans.  With a win over Shogun Rua at UFC 104, will Lyoto Machida emerge as a true superstar?  Give me your thoughts?

UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun coverage