It was revealed earlier today (Fri., June 22, 2018) that former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida will be taking his talents to Bellator MMA after signing an exclusive multi-fight deal.
Machida, 40, certainly isn’t the same fighter he was when he knocked out Rashad Evans back in 2009 to claim UFC gold, but the Brazilian still provides fireworks inside of the cage. That is why Bellator is bringing “Dragon” aboard and planning on matching him up against the best fighters available starting this fall.
“Whether he gets a title shot or not, I’m not sure, but as far as getting in the mix and fighting big fighters, we want that to happen,” Bellator president Scott Coker told MMAjunkie when discussing Machida’s debut later this year.
If Machida was to get an immediate title shot it would probably come at 185 pounds and against the winner of Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald, which is set to take place this September in California. Mousasi is the current Bellator middleweight champion and is coming off a first-round finish over former titleholder Rafael Carvalho
“Maybe not in the fall, but maybe next year sometime you’ll see Gegard fighting Lyoto,” Coker said. “You might see Rory fighting Lyoto.”
Outside of the middleweight title picture, Coker has big plans for Machida. Considering the legendary Brazilian striker has produced unforgettable results as a light heavyweight, Bellator is ready and willing to pit “Dragon” against some of the promotion’s biggest and baddest names.
“You might see Fedor (Emelianenko) fighting Lyoto. (Ryan) Bader. (Muhammed) ‘King Mo’ (Lawal). Phil Davis. There’s just a lot of great fights we have at both weights,” explained Coker.
While Machida wasn’t going to contend for a UFC title moving forward, his recent front kick knockout of Vitor Belfort at UFC 224 proved that he still has a lot left in the tank. So even though Machida’s current potential doesn’t quite stack up to his former success, the signing was an easy decision to make for Bellator.
“We always said we were going to go after every free agent that we like, and we really like Lyoto, and he will be a great fit for us,” Coker said. “We’re excited to have him on board, and we can’t wait to put him to work.”
Stick with Mania as more news on Machida’s crossover is revealed.