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Lyoto Machida eyeing Karate bout with Stephen Thompson after Georges St-Pierre declined

Former UFC champion Lyoto Machida is already looking at a potential new phase in his combat sports career.

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Lyoto Machida walks towards the Octagon for his fight with Luke Rockhold in 2015.
Lyoto Machida walks towards the Octagon for his fight with Luke Rockhold in 2015.
Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Former UFC heavyweight champion and current Bellator fighter Lyoto Machida is already looking at a new potential phase in his combat sports career. In a recent guesting on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast, “The Dragon” broached the idea of competing in Karate Combat.

“The action doesn’t stop at Karate Combat, so that favors me,” Machida said. “With that in mind, I don’t care too much who’s on the other side because it’s an art I dominate, an art where the action doesn’t stop and there’s more contact.

“It doesn’t matter if the guy will touch my face because I’ll fire back, too. It’s like MMA, just a bit more restricted in terms of rules.”

For the uninformed, Karate Combat combines traditional concepts with aggressive striking along with MMA elements like takedowns, sweeps, and throws. Attacking fighters may only use legal hand strikes (excluding hammerfists and ridge hand strikes) when the action gets to the ground, but grounded fighters may use all strikes, including kicks.

As for Machida, one opponent he fancies if he does make the jump is a fellow Karate fighter and UFC veteran Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. He also revealed that a previous offer was already made to Georges St-Pierre, but the two-division UFC champ had to turn it down.

“Stephen Thompson is an MMA guy [that I could face],” Machida said. [Or] Georges St-Pierre. But Georges St-Pierre was offered it last time and didn’t want to do it. [Karate Combat] wanted to book it in the future, after my [Bellator] contract is over, but he has other plans.

“I think he’s really finished his career as an athlete. [Karate Combat] called me and asked if I would fight Georges St-Pierre and I said of course, and St-Pierre said, ‘No, I have other projects.’

“Stephen Thompson is active, he’s younger, and he wants it. Let’s see what Karate Combat does in the future, but first I have to fight my fight in Bellator.”

The 43-year-old Machida (26-11) has one fight left in his current Bellator contract. He is slated to face Fabian Edwards at Bellator 281 on May 13 in London.