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Lyoto Machida open to karate match with Stephen Thompson after targeting Georges St-Pierre

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Lyoto Machida will become a MMA free agent after his upcoming Bellator bout with Fabian Edwards in London on May 13, and might change sports going forward.

The man that changed concepts in MMA by bringing his karate style, and became UFC light heavyweight champion with a flawless record, said on a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca he’s considering going back to karate if a good offer is presented to him.

“The Dragon” said he has been approached about competing in submission events in the past, but turned it down since it wasn’t leveled up. He would be down to facing a fellow MMA star, but didn’t like the idea of being thrown at the wolves to grapple top black belts like Gordon Ryan and Craig Jones.

Yet, when you’re talking karate matches, it’s a whole other game.

“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.”

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 for matches after his Bellator deal is up. Machida said on Trocação Franca he was offered a new deal with Bellator but opted to test free agency instead.

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.’”

Machida doesn’t think for a second that turning down such idea means GSP is “afraid” of him, but it might not make sense, business-wise, for the Canadian star to enter the karate world right now to compete.

How about UFC welterweight Stephen Thompson, then?

“Then it’s different,” Machida said. “Stephen Thompson is active, he’s younger, and he wants it. Let’s see what Karate Combat does in the future, but first I have to fight my fight in Bellator.”

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