Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida would like to return to the Octagon for one last fight.
“The Dragon,” 44, is currently a free agent after around a four-year stint in Bellator following his UFC run. Machida won the 205-pound title in 2009 by snatching it from Rashad Evans via knockout at UFC 98. He would notch one successful title defense — a razor-close unanimous decision win over Mauricio Rua — before dropping it to “Shogun” in an instant rematch via first-round KO at UFC 113 in 2010.
All in all, Machida fought 24 times for the promotion, which included two more efforts to become a UFC champion.
In 2018, Machida moved onto Bellator from the UFC. He earned back-to-back wins in the promotion, but would ultimately lose his last four before his Bellator deal was up. During a recent interview with Canal Encarada, The Dragon confirmed his desire to return to his former home to close out his mixed martial arts career.
“I like the UFC a lot and I’ve always loved fighting there,” Machida said (h/t MMA Fighting). “I know it’s not easy with the way the UFC works today, but I would love doing one final fight in the UFC, maybe in Brazil. A farewell fight. It was in the UFC that I had the most exposure, where I was champion, and I’m grateful for everything I lived there.”
“I had no conflicts with the UFC even when I left because I always respected their position as promoters, and that was very important because I knew my place,” he added. “The UFC is the biggest platform in MMA, can’t compare. I liked fighting in Bellator because I needed that change, but I’m in a different moment today.”
Machida Showed Interest in Fighting Luke Rockhold & Robbie Lawler for Final UFC Match
Machida shared two names as potential farewell opponents — former UFC middleweight and Strikeforce Luke Rockhold and ex-UFC 170-pound king Robbie Lawler.
“There are many guys that fit well,” Machida said. “Luke Rockhold is a nice name, Robbie Lawler too, because they have a similar age and have similar interest in fighting one last time and retiring.”
Machida and Rockhold dueled in 2015 as a headlining act for a UFC on FOX event, and the latter won with a second-round rear-naked choke. Rockhold last fought in August when he was bested via unanimous decision by Paulo Costa at UFC 278. Rockhold announced his retirement post-fight inside the Octagon, but he’s hinted at potentially fighting again.
Lawler is scheduled to fight Santiago Ponzinibbio on December 10 at UFC 282. “Ruthless” will look to get back on track after Bryan Barberena earned a TKO over him in July at UFC 276.
“Everybody would like watching that,” Machida said of the two potential matches. “I’m in great shape, never entered a fight untrained. I’m training every day.”
Machida Vyed for Both the Light Heavyweight & Middleweight Straps After Losing His Belt
The Dragon’s loss to Shogun wasn’t the final time he competed for a UFC championship. After Jon Jones became king of the division, Machida tried to take his belt back at UFC 140 in 2011 but was choked out courtesy of Jones’ guillotine.
After moving to middleweight and racking up two straight victories, Machida fought then-middleweight champion Chris Weidman for the title in 2014 at UFC 175. However, The Dragon lost on points.
Machida has a 26-12 professional MMA record.