Lyoto Machida is considered one of the greatest light heavyweights in UFC history. He held the light heavyweight title briefly, before losing it to fellow Brazilian, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, in 2010. After being unable to regain the light heavyweight belt, Machida dropped to middleweight, where he has been fighting since. With only a few days left before UFC Fight Night 119, don’t forget to check out the UFC Fight Night betting odds if you want to bet on the event.
On Saturday, Machida will make his return to the Octagon after a two-year layoff. He will be fighting Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night 119, which will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The main card of the event will air on FS1 following the preliminary fights that air on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.
Machida has been out of the Octagon for over two years because he had to serve an eighteen-month suspension for a drug violation. However, the 39-year-old former champion sees the layoff as a blessing in disguise.
While doing press for UFC Fight Night 119, Machida said the layoff was a good thing for him because being away from the Octagon for so long has allowed him to heal properly from nagging injuries. He will be going into this fight the freshest he has been in a very long time.
Machida also credits the layoff for giving him a new outlook on life, as well as fighting.
During the suspension, Machida realized that life is also a fight. When something happens in life that you’re not prepared for, you don’t know how to react to it. These were things that Machida gained clarity on during his time off.
Machida continued, saying he was very stressed at the beginning of the suspension, which affected him emotionally. But, after a couple months, he was able to move past it, which he added was difficult to do.
Machida said that when he realized and finally accepted that he was going to be sitting out for a while, he started to turn the corner. At first, he thought his career was over because of his age and the amount of time he was suspended for. However, he realized that he still had a passion for MMA, and resolved to get back in the ring when the suspension was over.
Machida realized he had to do something to keep himself busy and not dwell too much on the suspension, so he decided to learn how to cook.
Lyoto said he decided to learn different things and see the potential he had for more than just fighting. He said he learned to be more expressive from spending a lot of time with his parents and the rest of his family. Machida got to do some traveling and generally enjoyed things he wouldn’t have been able to when he was fighting, because of the amount of time he spent training.
Machida credits the layoff for helping him become a better person and for helping him realize that there is more to life beyond fighting and the Octagon.