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UFC Belem’s Lyoto Machida: A fight with Michael Bisping ‘would mean a lot’

UFC Belem main event winner Lyoto Machida elaborates on his call-out of Michael Bisping.

UFC Fight Night: Weigh-ins Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC Fight Night 125 could have been the last time we saw Lyoto Machida in the Octagon but ‘The Dragon’ managed to eek out a split decision win over Eryk Anders and snap a three-fight losing streak in front of his countrymen in Belem, Brazil.

Machida, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, immediately called out fellow MMA veteran and ex-middleweight champ Michael Bisping in the post-fight interview: “Michael Bisping, I’m here for you, man!”

Machida followed up at the post-fight press conference, stating that both he and Bisping are nearing the end of their careers and could entertain the fans in a possible retirement fight.

“That’s a fight that should’ve happened a couple times and it didn’t,” Machida said, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti. “I think we both matured together in this sport, so I think fight between Michael Bisping and myself would mean a lot.

“He might retire sometime soon, I could retire sometime soon, and people asked for that fight, so it’s a fight that interests me.”

Machida, who is nearing his 40th birthday, made his professional MMA debut in 2003 and captured the UFC light heavyweight title in 2009, finishing then-defending champ Rashad Evans with a highlight reel knockout in the second round. The Karate-based fighter eventually lost his belt to ‘Shogun’ Rua and went on to have mixed results in the Octagon.

Bisping, 38, is the light heavyweight tournament winner of The Ultimate Fighter 3 and, despite being touted as a gatekeeper, shocked the world with his first-round knockout of Luke Rockhold to win the middleweight championship in 2016. ‘The Count’ defended the belt against old rival Dan Henderson at UFC 204 but lost in subsequent fights to Georges St-Pierre and Kelvin Gastelum, losing both fights via brutal stoppage.

Machida is also interested in a fight with MMA legend Vitor Belfort but would prefer to fight Bisping.

“If I had a choice, I’d rather not fight someone from Brazil, but as a professional, I couldn’t say no,” he said. “I would rather fight a foreigner, but Vitor is a guy who’s done a lot and he’s a great fighter, and I couldn’t say no.”

Bisping was expected to retire at the upcoming UFC Fight Night London card on March 17 but told fans on Twitter that he wouldn’t be participating in the event.

A fight between Machida and Bisping, however, could take place at a later date and is the match-up that makes the most sense for both fighters at this late stage of their respective careers.

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