Former UFC champ Lyoto Machida embraces hometown return
By Brian Martin
For nearly six years, Lyoto Machida has called Southern California home, uprooting his family from Brazil and landing in Palos Verdes Estates without a single regret.
This week, however, the former UFC light heavyweight champion has returned home to Belem where he will fight professionally for the first time against undefeated upstart Eryk Anders in the UFC Fight 125 main event Saturday at Mangueirinho Arena.
“I feel ready, I feel happy, and very grateful for this opportunity,” Machida said. “There is no better opportunity, fighting in my hometown.”
Machida, 39, knows there is no bigger stage for him under the brightest of spotlights. After fighting in the 205-pound weight class until 2013, he has been fighting at middleweight and gone 3-4, including three consecutive losses. Along the way, he has also twice admitted to taking to banned substances — the second infraction resulting in an 18-month USADA suspension.
In Machida’s first fight after the ban, Derek Brunson knocked him out in 2:30 of the first round in October in Sao Paulo.
“I’ll just take the responsibility and just move on, forget everything and move on,” Machida (22-8) said. “You can expect that I’m going to give my best from the beginning of the fight until the end of the fight.”
“The Dragon” burst onto the scene 11 years ago, using his elite karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills to rip off six consecutive wins in the UFC before capturing the light heavyweight belt with a second-round knockout of Rashad Evans in 2009.
Seven months after Machida’s stunning championship performance at UFC 98, Anders (10-0) was putting on show of his own in a different sport — racking up seven tackles and a sack and forcing a fumble as a linebacker as No. 1 Alabama knocked off No. 2 Texas 37-21 in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game at […]