How the Machidas propelled Bruno Souza to UFC 268 debut

In late May 2003, Lyoto Machida touched down in Brazil. A journey throughout the world formally concluded and he was back house.

After a life time of karate and martial arts training under his famous dad, Yoshizo, Machida made his expert mixed martial arts launching in Japan days prior. It was a unanimous choice win over Kengo Watanabe at New Japan Pro Fumbling: Ultimate Crash.

While the training never ever stopped, the typical diet plan might be put aside for a bit to commemorate triumph. Quickly after his arrival in Belem, Para, Machida needed some great house cooking.

That’s where Murilo Souza Filho can be found in. A household good friend, Souza Filho worked up a hearty meal for Machida. It’s a function he’d fill on various future events, too.

In the middle of the banquet, a fresh copy of a VHS tape appeared. It was the battle. Amongst the living-room audiences was Souza Filho’s boy, 7-year-old Bruno Souza, who viewed in awe and adoration at the replay of his good example outpointing his Japanese challenger.

Souza initially satisfied Lyoto and his sibling, Chinzo Machida, in 1999 when he was simply 4. Registered in youth judo classes, Souza matured with martial arts – and concerning the famous Brazilian fighters. He was there for Lyoto’s whole journey, from professional debutant to UFC champ to late-stage Bellator prestige.

“Lyoto began his profession, and I resembled, ‘You know what? I want to be good,’” Souza recently told MMA Junkie. “The best thing about them was they never held me back. They were like, ‘OK, train, train, go for it, go for it.’ Look where we are now.”

Souza is set to make his UFC launching Saturday night at New york city’s well known Madison Square Garden when he’ll fulfill Melsik Baghdasaryan on the UFC 268 prelims, a minute hat would not have actually been enabled without the Machidas.

Over the period of his life, Souza saw the pedestal numerous Brazilians in the mixed martial arts circuit put Lyoto on. He reached legend status, specifically after he knocked out Rashad Evans to end up being UFC light heavyweight champ in 2009. To Souza, nevertheless, Lyoto and Chinzo Machida were basically household. They weren’t superhuman. They were typical individuals similar to him, who achieved amazing things – and wanted to assist him do the very same. That sustained him.

“If someone close to you accomplishes something that’s really hard, it’s more possible for you,” Souza stated. “I’m like, ‘OK, I know Lyoto. He did it. Why can’t I do it? We are friends. Why is it not possible?’ That’s what gave me the strength of like, ‘Yeah, I can do it. I can do it. Why not?’”

For those who don’t understand Lyoto Machida personally, Souza states they’re losing out. Through great times and bad, Machida was constantly there for Souza. Sometimes, Souza, nicknamed “The Tiger,” even lived with “The Dragon.”

“People have their idols, and I had a close relationship with my idol,” Souza stated. “I can call him any time. I can ask for advice. I can FaceTime with him now that we live far apart. But I can go to his place. Good things or bad things, you’re always together. That’s amazing. … Lyoto is such a great guy to everyone. It’s not just with me. You can sit and ask for advice, and he’ll always open up. He’s very happy to talk. It’s impossible to have someone better than that.”

Over 20 years of martial arts training and Machida motivation will cause Souza (10-1 MIXED MARTIAL ARTS, 0-0 UFC) making a UFC walk of his own for the very first time. It’s the next box examined his list. At UFC 268, Souza’s battle with Baghdasaryan (6-1 MIXED MARTIAL ARTS, 1-0 UFC) is one action more detailed to his supreme objective of ending up being a UFC champ, similar to his coach.

“I want to be the greatest of all time,” Souza stated. “I don’t know if I’m going to make it, but I’m trying. Why not, you know? We can do it.”

UFC 268 happens Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The primary card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN News/ESPN+.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.