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Lyoto Machida not thinking about retirement, still targets UFC title

Lyoto Machida
Lyoto Machida discusses his plans for the future.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Lyoto Machida suffered the quickest loss of his MMA career against Derek Brunson in the main event of UFC Sao Paulo on Oct. 28, but he still has big plans for his career.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion spoke with MMA Fighting a little over a month after suffering his third straight defeat inside the Octagon, and revealed that he won’t retire from the sport now.

"I don’t think about retirement yet,” Machida said. "I want to continue fighting. I want to be champion in this division. I dedicate most of my time to this goal. I believe that I will think about stopping when I don’t feel challenged anymore.

"In the meantime, I will continue working on developing my gym in Los Angeles, Machida Academy. We teach the karate methodology, bringing back the history of the martial art, the attacks that stopped being used when the martial art became a sport, and that my brother and I use in the cage. We’re also finding a way to share with the Brazilian people the philosophy that I’ve learned through the years in the sport.”

Even though he has suffered three defeats in a row, the fact that Machida was beaten by three of the best fighters in the division, Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Brunson, doesn’t really mean he’s done.

Brunson came closer to earning a shot at the belt with a win over Machida, and will now face Ronaldo Souza in the main event of a UFC on FOX card on Jan. 27. “The Dragon” congratulated Brunson’s victory, and downplayed the impact of his own long layoff in the performance.

"We must recognize our opponents' merits,” Machida said. "Derek was able to quickly impose his strategy. I had a great preparation, an intense and full camp. Now I’ll start my preparation to get ready for a new fight, a new challenge.

"I don’t believe that the time away from the Octagon was decisive in this fight. I was following a strategy that was part of my game and my style. Like I said on social media right after the fight, the feeling of getting back inside the Octagon was the most important aspect of this fight."

Prior to UFC Sao Paulo, Machida said that he hoped to compete at the UFC Belem event on Feb. 3. Raised in Belem, the karate specialist said there’s no negotiation about his next bout — and he won’t call anyone out.

"My biggest desire is to put on a good fight, with a well-ranked opponent, so that I climb the ranking and get back in a position to challenge for a belt,” Machida said. "It’s so cool to see the promotion going to Belem, where the people love the sport. Fighting in Brazil is always great because you’re close to the fans. It’s a good energy on fight day, during the open workouts, the support on social media is always closer.

"However, I like to remember that it's always a challenge to stay focused and isolated, which is important in my preparation for a fight because family and friends will be closer. But like I said, my focus is to put on a good fight, no matter where. I don’t believe in ideal places for a fight.

"It’s not my style to call opponents out or to challenge anyone, and I don’t believe this is the moment to do so. I think that right now I have to show my results, no matter who I’m set to face in my next fight."

Asked if he would be interested in facing Michael Bisping at the upcoming UFC event in London in March, Machida wouldn’t say yes or no.

"There are no negotiations about that card as well,” he said. "He’s a well-ranked opponent but, like I said, I don’t believe in picking my next opponent right now."

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