There isn’t much Lyoto Machida hasn’t done in his illustrious fighting career — but winning a grand prix is on the list. Even competing in one has eluded him up to this point.
Machida, who returns to action at Bellator 256 on Friday night, told Cageside Press during this week’s virtual media day to promote the event that he was happy with opportunity presented to him, especially given the names taking part. “I believe only the best light heavyweight fighters will be present in this event. That’s why for me, it’s a great opportunity,” he noted.
Among those names are Anthony Johnson, Corey Anderson, Yoel Romero, and Ryan Bader, who Machida will face off with Friday in a rematch of their 2012 UFC meeting.
The grand prix is also a great chance to show what he does, continued Mahchida, who added that after a 20-year long career, he’s always trying to motivate himself. The tournament and it’s star-packed line-up will no doubt help. But what would mean more, winning another title, or becoming one of the few to have won a grand prix?
“It’s different things. Because when you have the grand prix, you have a different format,” noted Machida. “You have a different type of competition. You already know probably when and who you’re going to fight next. You cannot escape from that.”
It eliminates fighters jumping the line for a title shot thanks to name value, Machida pointed out. “There’s a bracket that, if you pass, you [go through] to the next fight. For me I like this type of competition because in karate, in amateur sports, it’s always like that. You just have to [keep] winning, and you’re going to be next for sure.”
As for retiring should he win the tournament, while it would be a great moment, “I cannot foresee the future,” said Machida, who added that he lives in the moment. “In this moment, I have this fight against Bader, and I have a long, long path.”
Watch the full Bellator 256 virtual media day scrum with Lyoto Machida above. The event takes place Friday, April 9 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.