A few months back Lyoto Machida made headlines when he left the UFC to sign with Bellator MMA, to be apart of it’s middleweight division.
Among the fighters hearing news of Machida’s arrival to the company, one 185-pounder wasn’t too fond of the Brazilian again being in the same company as him; that fighter being current Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi.
As its been well documented, Mousasi and Machida do have history together, having faced each other in 2014 when both men were still in the UFC. Fans saw “The Dragon” defeat Mousasi by way of a five-round unanimous decision.
Ever since that night, Mousasi is still bitter about it, even going so far as to publicly accuse Machida of taking steriods and greasing when they fought in that main event.
Machida, speaking with MMA Fighting recently, responded to Gergard Mousasi’s insulting remarks.
”Everything Mousasi says only motivates me,” Machida said. “I have a win over him and I think he’s a little bothered by it. But I think it’s an easier fight to promote now. I’m very motivated and I want this opportunity, especially with him as a champion.
“Fighting in Bellator is a dream come true for me. Having a belt is a bigger dream,” he continued. “But I just got to the promotion, one step at a time. I have to fight first, feel well, and then think about this. I want the Bellator belt. I’m not here to be part of the roster and just fight. I came here to become champion and remain champion for as long as I can.”
On the subject pertaining to drug-testing, Machida got into a situation with USADA for what a lot of people deemed to be an unjust 18 month suspension for him disclosing the usage of DHEA, Machida stated it was a good feeling for him not to be obligated in no longer reporting his whereabouts.
“I’m in favor of the anti-doping system in the sport, I believe it’s good for the sport, but I’m not in favor of how USADA deals with many cases,” Machida said. “I think sometimes they are too harsh and don’t take into consideration how the situation occurred, the athlete’s past, similar situations that could be seen when making a hard decision on a professional athlete’s career, who lives and depends on it.
“I won’t say I left the UFC because of USADA, no way, but today I feel lighter without USADA,” he continued. “I feel lighter. The thing that you have to report where you are going generated so much stress. Today I’m free, more relaxed. I’m living happier in that aspect.”
Speaking of which, another aspect of freedom Machida is granted in joining Bellator is the chance to fight in multiple divisions he said, but as of now, “The Dragon” will set his sights solely on winning the Bellator Middleweight Belt, but isn’t dismissing the possibility of fighting at heavyweight, and even light heavyweight where he owns a win over division champ Ryan Bader.
“A fight with Fedor (Emelianenko) would be a superfight,” Machida said. “I’m a fan of Fedor, have been a fan since he was in PRIDE, a great champion, and since I like to challenge myself, new challenges, that was one of the offers that came with my move to Bellator. Of course, fighting Fedor would be an honor, a dream.”
While the 40 year seasoned veteran is extremely glad to be apart of the Bellator roster, he admits it felt sorta weird leaving the UFC after a decade being in the organization.
“Of course that was sad, I wanted to stay a little longer, wanted to fight more,” Machida said, “but I believe that life is made of cycles, and my cycle in the UFC was over and now there’s a new moment, a new cycle, a new promotion, and I’m happy and motivated for this moment in my career.
“My (UFC) contract was renewed before my last fight, so I felt really comfortable with ending it and going after something different. I had a good relationship with Bellator, Scott Coker and Mike Kogan.
”They made me an offer and the UFC matched it, but I had already given my word to Bellator and that’s very serious to me. They asked me if they gave me ‘X’ I would go to Bellator, and I said yes. It was a big opportunity. I thought it was the moment to change, do something different.”