Gegard Mousasi has quite the theory on why Lyoto Machida made his exit from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Machida surprised the mixed martial arts world when he signed with Bellator after his final UFC bout against Vitor Belfort earlier this year. “The Dragon” said the UFC matched Bellator’s offer, but he had already made a promise that he wasn’t going to break.
“The Dragon” certainly has options under the Bellator banner. He has victories over middleweight champion Mousasi and light heavyweight title holder Ryan Bader. It’s possible that we could see one or both rematches.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Mousasi implied that Machida made the move to Bellator to avoid the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) (via Bloody Elbow):
“He’s older, and there was drug testing in the UFC. But if I fight him, he would need a lot of drug testing, too. Look at his physique, I think that says enough. He’s a skilled guy, no doubt about it, but when you get older, everything goes a little bit downward. Fighters, they cannot fight until 47 years old as they did before. If they’re clean, it’s difficult, especially against high-class fighters. They can beat a little bit lower guys, but against top competition, it’s difficult when you’re 41 or whatever and still be able to physically – skillwise, maybe, but on the highest level, small things make a big difference.”
Back in 2014, Machida defeated Mousasi inside the Octagon via unanimous decision. “The Dreamcatcher” has since ripped Machida for using banned substances. “The Dragon” was suspended by USADA for 18 months. Time will tell if these two clash again.
Why do you think Lyoto Machida left the UFC?