Lyoto Machida plans to end his career on a high note.
A former UFC light heavyweight champion, Machida parted ways with the UFC in 2018 after back-to-back wins over Vitor Belfort and Eryk Anders to join Bellator. He was victorious against Rafael Carvalho and Chael Sonnen in his first appearances inside the Bellator cage, but lost his next four versus Gegard Mousasi, Phil Davis, Ryan Bader, and Fabian Edwards.
Machida revealed in an interview with Canal Encarada that his contract with Bellator “is over and I’m a free agent” — and he wants to end his career on a high note.
“I like the UFC a lot and I’ve always loved fighting there,” Machida said. “I know it’s not easy with the way the UFC works today, but I would love doing one final fight in the UFC, maybe in Brazil. A farewell fight. It was in the UFC that I had the most exposure, where I was champion, and I’m grateful for everything I lived there.”
“I had no conflicts with the UFC even when I left because I always respected their position as promoters, and that was very important because I knew my place,” he added. “The UFC is the biggest platform in MMA, can’t compare. I liked fighting in Bellator because I needed that change, but I’m in a different moment today.”
The 44-year-old veteran beat the likes of Mousasi, Bader, Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua, Tito Ortiz, and Randy Couture during his legendary run inside the octagon, and has two names in mind for a farewell bout.
“There are many guys that fit well,” Machida said. “Luke Rockhold is a nice name, Robbie Lawler too, because they have a similar age and have similar interest in fighting one last time and retiring.”
Rockhold, who beat the Brazilian in 2014 to earn a title shot, recently returned to action after a three-year layoff to lose a decision to Paulo Costa, after which he retired.
Lawler faces welterweight Santiago Ponzinibbio on Dec. 10 after being finished by Bryan Barberena this past July, almost a year after his stoppage victory over Nick Diaz.