Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida left the Octagon in 2018, on the heels of an incredible front kick KO over Vitor Belfort. After that fight he switched over the the Bellator cage, where he has had mixed results.
He won his first two bouts in Bellator, a split decision over Rafael Carvalho and a flying knee KO of Chael Sonnen. Since then he’s gone 0-3 with the promotion, with decision losses to Gegard Mousasi, Phil Davis and Ryan Bader.
The 43-year-old Brazilian has a career marker of 37-11 and it seems as though he’s eager to add to his win column before calling it a day. Bellator CEO Scott Coker recently told MMA Junkie that ‘The Dragon’ was eager to return to action.
“He wants to fight and we’re going to get him busy again,” said Coker. “He’s another fighter that will probably fight in March, April. We want to get all our big stars fighting between now and April. He’s had some losses, but he’s went though a gauntlet of just killers. It didn’t work out for him, but we feel he’s still got some gas left in the tank.”
Coker also heralded Machida for his accomplishments in MMA and vowed that the organization wouldn’t push the veteran to quit fighting.
“He’s done so much for the sport. To me, he’s a legend, and we’re going to let him finish it on his terms.”
Machida’s most recent loss, to Bader, came in the quarterfinals of the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix. Bader lost in the next round to Corey Anderson. Anderson is now slated to face light heavyweight champ Vadim Nemkov in the tournament finale.
Other 205 lbers in that tournament, who Machida has not faced in Bellator, include Anthony Johnson, Julius Anglickas, Jose Augusto and Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov.
Former UFC title challenger Yoel Romero had been slated to appear in that tournament. However, he was forced to pull out after he was not medically cleared to compete. He later made his Bellator debut in a loss to Phil Davis.