Lyoto Machida has planned out the rest of 2019 and the beginnings of 2020.
In the co-main event of Bellator 228, the former UFC light heavyweight champion Machida is taking on Gegard Mousasi. This middleweight fight is a rematch of their 2014 fight, which Machida won by decision.
Now, in Bellator, the fight is crucial for the title picture. The winner will set themselves up for a title shot. Yet it Machida is victorious, he’ll be in a unique circumstance as he is the top contender at light heavyweight as well.
He says he doesn’t care which division he gets a title shot in. The priority is just fighting for gold.
“I don’t have a preference, I just want to fight for the belt. Whatever division. Whatever comes first I will take. But, 205 will be ideal,” Lyoto Machida said to BJPENN.com. “I just want to be a champion and have the belt, and who knows, maybe a champ-champ one day. I just want to fight for the belt next fight.”
To get that shot, he will need to get past Gegard Mousasi. Machida is confident he can do it. He has already beaten Mousasi once and knows he has gotten better since then.
As a result, he’s expecting a finish this time around.
“I already beat him once, now the second time, I believe the fight will be similar. The first fight, most of the time it was on the feet and I think it will be the same,” Machida explained. “It will be a good fight. I train so much on my striking to knock people out and I think I can knock out Mousasi.”
The lead up to this fight has also been intense. Gegard Mousasi has brought up Lyoto Machida’s past, accusing him of PED use, and the two have traded shots at one another. But, the Brazilian says that doesn’t impact him at all. Instead, he is just focusing on the fight.
What could impact the fight, however, is the fact that Machida is dropping down in weight. He last fought at 205-pounds and will now be cutting 20 pounds to get down to middleweight. Yet, he doesn’t believe the cut will be hard, nor hinder his performance.
“I have done it a ton. But, of course, whenever you have to cut more weight you are a little more concerned as you never know how you will feel. My conditioning is great, I won’t have any problems,” Machida said.
Should Machida win this fight, he believes he will be fighting for the belt next. If he wins a Bellator belt, he would join a select group of fighters that were UFC and Bellator champions. For him, that secures his legacy as one of the best.
“That is going to be amazing, that is going to be my legacy. Two different belts, that will be huge when I realize that,” he said.
Given that he is 41-years-old, Machida realizes the end of his career may be nearing, but he is certain he still has a few years left.
“I have no idea when I have to stop fighting, I still consider myself at a high level of training and fighting. I want to be in action for a couple of more years and then we will see what happens,” he concluded.
Who do you think will win the rematch between Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/24/2019.