Lyoto Machida is a man looking not just to snap a two-fight skid, but to advance in Bellator’s newly announced light heavyweight grand prix. And recreate one of his UFC-era successes while he’s at it.
“The Dragon” is paired up with old foe Ryan Bader at Bellator 256 in the opening round of the tournament. A he man knocked out in highlight reel fashion back in 2012 at UFC on FOX 4.
Today, the Brazilian is at a very different point in his career. In a different promotion on the wrong side of 40. With two straight split decision losses dogging him.
Machida (26-10), at 42, wasn’t willing to talk about retirement on Tuesday, during a media day to promote Bellator’s arrival on U.S. cable network Showtime. “I consider I’m in the best moment of my career, because I’m more ready than ever,” he told Cageside Press when asked about the possibility of hanging them up after the grand prix. “I’ve been training since I was four years old. I just think about my next fight, because I have to achieve everything that I want to achieve. And then I’ll have time to think about if I’m going to retire, or if I’m going to just keep fighting.”
“I like to live with that mindset,” he later added. “I like to like with the mindset of the present.”
That means not looking past Bader to a potential rematch with Yoel Romero, either. Machida had been queried about whether he’d prefer that rematch at 205lbs or 185lbs. “I don’t prefer either one. I just focus on Ryan Bader,” he replied.
Asked how different of a fighter he was without the weight cut to 185lbs, Machida explained that “I walk around with 210, 212 to 215 at most. I feel good in training. Even when I fight at 185, I train at this weight, I walk around at this weight. When I was champion in the UFC, it was the same.” But there is an advantage, he added. “I consider that I’m faster when I fight at 205, than when I fight at 185.”
Watch the full Bellator on Showtime media day scrum with Lyoto Machida above. Bellator 256 takes place Friday, April 9, 2021.