Back in October, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida returned to the Octagon after a layoff of more than two years, only to be knocked senseless by middleweight contender Derek Brunson in the very first-round.
With this loss, Machida fell onto a tough, three-fight skid, having been knocked out by Yoel Romero and submitted by Luke Rockhold in his next most recent bouts.
Despite this tough skid, the 39-year-old Machida isn’t thinking about retirement as his UFC Belem headlining bout with undefeated prospect Eryk Anders looms on the horizons.
“Of course, age comes for everyone,” Machida recently said during a media scrum with Brazilian reporters (via MMAJunkie.com). “But as long as I feel good and willing, as long as I have the feel to train and to take part, I don’t see why – as long as I can train well with the younger folk, people at a high level, who are fighting in the same promotion, I don’t think there’s a reason to think about stopping. I still have plenty left in the tank.”
Machida then discussed the difficult time he had accepting his recent knockout loss to Brunson.
“It wasn’t easy, especially at first,” Machida said. “I’d been away for a while and I expected a different result – given the camp and the training that I had. But that’s fighting. That’s what makes the sport so interesting: We don’t know who’s going to win, favorites or not.
“Dealing with that wasn’t easy. I had to really concentrate and be sure of what I want. At times like these, it’s very easy to get so shaken that you stop wanting it. And I really want it.”
While Machida is focused soundly on the dangerous task ahead of him in Anders, he is still thinking about the UFC middleweight title, too.
“Yes [I think about the title], we always have a final goal,” Machida said. “But my main goal, right now, is to return well. It would be very presumptuous of me to think about something like a title fight now.
“Of course I have that final goal. But my main focus is on my return. It’s what I’ve been thinking and strategizing about. I live one moment at a time. I’m living this moment, right now, and for me it’s the most important one.”
How do you think Lyoto Machida will look in his return to the cage?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/24/2018.