After snapping his three-fight losing streak by taking out Eryk Anders via split decision, Lyoto Machida found a new lease on his combat sports life, and the thought of retirement was put on the back burner.
And while some fans may still think calling it a day is a very reasonable alternative for “The Dragon,” the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight champion of the world begs to differ.
“They want to retire me, but I don’t want to be retired,” Machida told MMA Junkie following a UFC 224 press conference in in Rio de Janeiro (video replay here). “I have more fights. I have more years. I believe that. Because the verb that I like to say here, it’s not about ‘can,’ but about ‘want.’ If you want something, you can get it. That’s what I put in my mind.”
For Lyoto, getting back into the win column and snapping the longest skid of his career is a huge relief and eases the pressure he had going into his previous bout.
“It’s different because I feel more confident now,” Machida said. “I feel like I can give my best. Because, when you have no options – only victory – you feel a lot of pressure over your shoulders. But once you release everything, it’s showtime. It’s time to show everything I have.”
Up next for Machida is a long-anticipated showdown against former 205-pound champion and longtime veteran, Vitor Belfort, which is set to go down on Sat., May 12, 2018 at UFC 224 in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.
And though the two men previously trained together, “The Dragon” has no qualms about punching his fellow countrymen in the face for the sake of partaking in a “classic” bout. And he promises it won’t be boring, despite the fact that the two may very well be at the tail-end of their respective careers.
“Because it’s a classic,” Machida said. “This fight could have happened in the past, back in the days. But unfortunately – or fortunately – it’s only happening now. I think it’s a great opportunity for both of us. I don’t believe this fight is going to be a boring fight,” he added. “I believe that it’s going to be a very exciting fight. And if he doesn’t come, I’ll go.”
Saying it and doing it are two different things.
To see who else is fighting at the upcoming UFC 224: “Nunes vs Pennington” pay-per-view (PPV) event click here.