Last month, Lyoto Machida was knocking out Vitor Belfort in the Octagon. This month, he’s leaving the UFC for Bellator.
To put this move into perspective, consider this: Machida has been with the UFC since 2007.
The former UFC light-heavyweight king – known as “The Dragon” because of his really bad breath – will be taking his karate skills and questionable chin to the cage where most soon-to-be-retirees go. No opponents have been mentioned, but knowing Bellator boss Scott Coker, expect Machida to take on the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Dada 5000 and Ryan Couture.
As per ESPN:
Lyoto Machida has verbally agreed to an exclusive multi-fight contract with the promotion, sources told ESPN. “The Dragon” is expected to sign the deal in the very near future.
Machida, 40, leaves the UFC on a two-fight winning streak and a 24-8 record. He most recently knocked out Vitor Belfort via front kick at UFC 224 last month in Rio de Janiero, which was the last fight on his UFC contract.
A former UFC light heavyweight champion, Machida made his promotional debut at UFC 67 in Feb. 2007. He won his first eight fights in a row en route to becoming the 205-pound champion picking up notable wins over the likes of Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Randy Couture, Ryan Bader and Dan Henderson, among many others. He is considered one of the greatest fighters in UFC history.
Machida’s Bellator debut isn’t set just yet, but he is expected to fight again in 2018. He joins the likes of Rory MacDonald, Benson Henderson, Gegard Mousasi, Frank Mir and Matt Mitrione, among others, who have recently left the UFC to sign with Bellator.