Former UFC light heavyweight champion star Lyoto Machida has signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA on Friday, leaving UFC on a two-fight winning streak and professional record of 24-8.
Most recently, Machida is coming off an impressive knockout win over Vitor Belfort via front kick at UFC 224 last month in Rio de Janiero. That was the last fight of his UFC contract.
‘The Dragon’ is expected to make a Bellator MMA debut sometime this fall, may face the winner of Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald, which is set to take place this September.
Machida issues a statement on Bellator signing via social media post:
“Hello everyone, I’m here to announce a great change in my career. My contract with UFC has finished, and I’m going to a new house: Bellator, which is a great MMA event that has been growing a lot here in the United States. I’m very grateful for everything that happened with me in the UFC.
“I’m very happy with everything I lived. I believe that everything in our lives is made of periods. All that comes is great and all that goes is also great. We have to be open to new changes, new challenges. This is how I think. My best regards to all of you, and I wish you keep on supporting me, because everytime I fight and everytime I practice, I do my best for all of you.”
Machida made UFC debut at UFC 67 back in February 2007. He won his first eight contests en route to becoming light heavyweight champion, holds notable wins over the likes of Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Randy Couture, Ryan Bader, Dan Henderson and among others.