Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida says he still has the desire to fight again.
Machida is set to fight out his Bellator contract in his next fight, and he revealed he plans to test free agency after that.
“[Bellator] came to us and said, ‘Let’s renew [the contract] one more time if Lyoto wants to,’ and whatever, and we said no, let’s fight this one first and then we’ll see,” Machida said to MMAFighting. “Every fight is a different fight for me. I saw it that way in the past, and even more now.”
Although Lyoto Machida says he wants to fight again, he isn’t sure where it will be. He says he wants to be challenged and doesn’t want any easy fights to end his career.
Not only does he want to be challenged, but the former UFC champion says he wants to be the one to retire from MMA, not being forced out as many veterans are. He still believes he is competing at a high level at 43-years-old but is on a three-fight losing streak.
“I don’t want to end it like most people end their careers,” said Machida. “I want to get to a point and say, ‘Well, I think I’m good.’ I don’t want other people telling me, ‘Lyoto, I you can’t do it anymore,’ or whatever. The way I feel and train, I’m the one that decides. We must have the opportunity to fight, of course. I might know how to wire walk, but there’s no point if I don’t have the wire. I want to continue fighting. I don’t know if [I’ll do] three or four more fights.
“When I was younger, 10 years ago, I was taught to fight every fight as if it was my last; ‘Lyoto, a samurai enters a fight as if it’s last fight.’ You must give your all in training and in the fight, mentally speaking. And now, more than ever, I can’t come here imagining I’ll have three, four, five fights. Every fight is like my last fight. Not in a sense of ending my career, but in the sense of giving my all. And that’s when I’ll make my decision. The fire is still burning inside me and that’s what matters the most. I want to innovate. I want to create a different game. I want to do different things that give me a different experience. And [I want to] fight.”
When and who Machida fights next is uncertain, but it may be his final fight in Bellator.
Who would you like to see Lyoto Machida face next?