by Dane McGuire
Despite still being under contract to Bellator MMA, former UFC light heavyweight champion appears to already be shifting his focus.
MMA Fighting reports Machida will become a MMA free agent after his upcoming Bellator bout with Fabian Edwards in London on May 13.
Machida joined Bellator in December 2018 and is 2-3 (26-11 overall). He most recently suffered a decision loss to Bellator heavyweight king Ryan Bader, who was then a double champion.
Machida, a karate veteran, recently discussed the Karate Combat organization on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast.
“The action doesn’t stop at Karate Combat, so that favors me,” Machida said. “With that in mind, I don’t care too much who’s on the other side because it’s an art I dominate, an art where the action doesn’t stop and there’s more contact. It doesn’t matter if the guy will touch my face because I’ll fire back, too. It’s like MMA, just a bit more restrict in terms of rules.”
“Stephen Thompson is a MMA guy [that I could face]. [Or] Georges St-Pierre,” Machida said. “But Georges St-Pierre was offered it last time and didn’t want to do it. [Karate Combat] wanted to book it in the future, after my [Bellator] contract is over, but he has other plans. I think he’s really finished his career as an athlete. [Karate Combat] called me and asked if I would fight Georges St-Pierre and I said of course, and St-Pierre said, ‘No, I have other projects.’”
Karate Combat president Adam Kovacs said on Monday’s The MMA Hour that they will meet with Machida on Thursday to discuss potentially signing him.
Machida said he was offered a new Bellator contract but chose to enter free agency in the near future.
Bellator head Scott Coker said in January in regard to Machida retiring:
“He wants to fight and we’re going to get him busy again,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “He’s another fighter that will probably fight in March, April. We want to get all our big stars fighting between now and April. He’s had some losses, but he’s went though a gauntlet of just killers. It didn’t work out for him, but we feel he’s still got some gas left in the tank.”
“He’s done so much for the sport. To me, he’s a legend, and we’re going to let him finish it on his terms.”
CageNation will continue to follow this story as it develops to find out where the legendary ‘Dragon’ lands post-free agency.