Rooting for the Old Guys: Bellator 281’s Lyoto Machida Will “Always Cheer” for Fighters Over 40

Former UFC light heavyweight champion and current Bellator MMA fighter Lyoto Machida took notice of Yoel Romero’s performance last Friday in Paris.

Machida (26-11) is no spring chicken, but he’s still a couple of years younger than the Cuban, who recently turned 45. And seeing his peers in the 40+ bracket find success in the sport inspires “The Dragon,” he told Cageside Press on Wednesday.

“Definitely it inspires me, because now, I always cheer for someone that’s over 40. If he’s over 40, I will always cheer for them,” Machida told us during the Bellator 281 media day, ahead of his fight with Fabian Edwards. “For sure, man. Because they’re my peers, so I have to celebrate, because it shows me that you still have room to improve, you still have a couple more years to put yourself in the cage and take some risks.”

With Edwards ranked #4 at 185 pounds in Bellator, Machida is taking a risk returning to the middleweight division after being bounced from the light heavyweight grand prix last year — but Edwards’ ranking also brings with it a high reward. But while Machida still has a goal of being champion, it’s not the be all, end all for him.

“I want to climb to the top, I want to be a champion. But to be champion is not the main goal,” said Machida. “I want to be a champion, but if it’s not possible, it’s okay. I have to accept everything, because I already did a lot.”

Despite his age, the weight cut to 185 is not a concern for Machida. Essentially, when competing as a light heavyweight, he’s fighting at his walk-around weight.

“Easy for me, easy for me,” he said of the cut to 185. “Because I walk around at 205. That’s my regular weight. So to cut to 85 is easy. I just have a few pounds more tomorrow. I keep my body healthy, I eat good, I drink good waters, and I try to take care about my diet everyday. So that’s why for me, to cut is better than to be at 205.”

Watch the full Belltor 281 media day appearance from Lyoto Machida above. Machida faces Fabian Edwards this Friday, May 13, 2022 as part of Bellator 281 at the SSE Arena, Wembley in London, England. More coverage can be found below.