After spending over a decade with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, former Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida is headed to Bellator.
Ariel Helwani of ESPN reported just moments ago that the 40-year-old mixed martial artist has agreed to a multi-fight deal with Bellator that is expected to be signed, sealed and delivered in the coming days.
“The Dragon” was once regarded as one of the most feared fighters in MMA during his heyday after beginning his career with a 15-0 record. His unforgettable knockout of Rashad Evans at UFC 98 back in 2009 earned him the Light Heavyweight Championship when the division was at its peak.
Since losing his title and suffering his first career loss to ‘Shogun’ Rua in an immediate rematch via first round KO, Machida has become a .500 fighter. He’s split his time between scoring massive knockouts over the likes of Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, Ryan Bader and Mark Munoz and losing the fights that would’ve gotten him back into contention against Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Derek Brunson.
Machida did come close to besting Chris Weidman for the middleweight strap in an effort to become a 2-division champion but ended up losing on the scorecards in a fight of the night effort at UFC 175 in 2014.
Machida will bring a record of 24-8 over to Bellator. The Brazilian Shotokan Karate stylist has competed at middleweight since 2013 exclusively. His older brother, Chinzo Machida, also competes under the Bellator banner.