UPDATE: Bellator has released the following statement to our own Damon Martin:
“Bellator is pleased to announce the signing of former world champion Lyoto Machida (24-8) to an exclusive, multi-fight agreement. We look forward to seeing ‘The Dragon’ compete inside the Bellator cage in the near future.”
It appears that Bellator is closing in on capturing the signature of another UFC star.
According to reports, Lyoto Machida has agreed to a multi-fight deal with Bellator, sources informed ESPN. The reports stated that the Brazilian will sign his contract in the near future.
Machida, 40, was on the wave of a two-fight win streak in the middleweight division. He most recently KO’d MMA legend Vitor Belfort to take his MMA record to 24-8. The fight with Belfort was the last on his UFC contract.
“The Dragon” held the UFC light-heavyweight title, a title he gained with an 8 fight winning streak. He made his debut in the promotion in February of 2007 at UFC 67. The Brazilian defeated the likes of Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, Shogun Rua, Randy Couture, Ryan Bader and Dan Henderson. His fearsome KO ability, elusive style and well-rounded abilities saw him come to be considered one of the best of all time.
While it is unknown who he is likely to fight in his promotional debut, he is expected to fight in 2018. Machida joins the likes of Frank Mir, Matt Mitrione, Rory McDonald, Gegard Mousasi and Ryan Bader among others who have left the UFC for Bellator.