Lyoto Machida has shown no signs of slowing down in his MMA career. ‘The Dragon’ currently has one more fight left on his Bellator contract and he has no plans to retire.
Bellator MMA wanted to keep Lyoto Machida under contract in the promotion but he was the one who turned it down. The Brazilian spoke about his future on MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast, Trocação Franca.
“[Bellator] came to us and said, ‘Let’s renew [the contract] one more time if Lyoto wants to,’ and whatever, and we said no, let’s fight this one first and then we’ll see,” Machida said. “Every fight is a different fight for me. I saw it that way in the past, and even more now.”
It’s not about the money at this point for Lyoto Machida. He wants to be challenged in MMA and he has very specific goals for himself.
“It’s the challenge,” he said when asked what’s most important for him at this point of his career. “Money is important, of course, it goes side by side, but challenge is what moves us. If you’re doing something only for the money, that’s weak, that’s secondary. … Money has to come because that’s earned, you work for that, but it can’t come first. As soon as money comes before other people and your wishes and dreams, that’s weak.
“I want to continue fighting because that’s what motivates me. When I feel I can’t do it anymore, I’ll switch gears and go on another direction. I won’t insist on something if I see I can’t do it. But as long as I think I’m innovating and able to do something different that makes me feel well, money will always come second for me.”
Lyoto Machida is very aware of the fact that he is close to retiring from MMA. He wants to walk away when he’s ready and not when everyone around him is begging him to hang up the gloves.
“I don’t want to end it like most people end their careers,” said Machida. “I want to get to a point and say, ‘Well, I think I’m good.’ I don’t want other people telling me, ‘Lyoto, I you can’t do it anymore,’ or whatever. The way I feel and train, I’m the one that decides. We must have the opportunity to fight, of course. I might know how to wire walk, but there’s no point if I don’t have the wire.
“I want to continue fighting. I don’t know if [I’ll do] three or four more fights. When I was younger, 10 years ago, I was taught to fight every fight as if it was my last; ‘Lyoto, a samurai enters a fight as if it’s last fight.’ You must give your all in training and in the fight, mentally speaking. And now, more than ever, I can’t come here imagining I’ll have three, four, five fights. Every fight is like my last fight. Not in a sense of ending my career, but in the sense of giving my all. And that’s when I’ll make my decision.
“The fire is still burning inside me and that’s what matters the most,” Machida added. “I want to innovate. I want to create a different game. I want to do different things that give me a different experience. And [I want to] fight.”