Lyoto Machida is a veteran. He’s a legend in the sport of MMA.
A professional fighter since 2003, Machida over the course of his career has competed against some of the best in the sport. He’s won most of his fights, too. His accomplishments include victories over the likes of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Randy Couture and Dan Henderson. The list goes on and on.
Recently, though, his career took a little bit of a turn, and not in a good way, either. Machida has lost his three most recent fights, and he certainly has not looked the same as he had even just a few years ago. His true downfall began when he tested positive for steroids in 2015 and was banned by USADA for 18 months, a suspension that ended in October 2017.
Upon his return, “The Dragon” was set for a headlining bout against a very dangerous opponent in Derek Brunson. It was a risky fight for Machida, but it was also one that provided a huge opportunity for the Brazilian to get right back into the conversation for a possible title shot at the middleweight level.
To the worries of many, Machida was not able to pull it off in his return. He certainly looked a little rusty, a bit slower, and, for as long as the fight lasted, just not the Machida that won the light heavyweight title nearly a decade ago. Brunson caught him early, finishing a somewhat overlooked return of the former light heavyweight champion.
In just a few days, Machida will be back inside of the Octagon once more, and back at home in Brazil. This time, the 39-year-old headlines UFC Fight Night 125 opposite the very tough up-and-comer Eryk Anders.
Anders, who was fighting for Legacy Fighting Alliance just last year, has made an instantaneous impact in the middleweight division since he signed with the UFC. Anders has won both of his fights to put himself in position to challenge a top name like Machida. Anders, 30, is a former college football player for the Alabama Crimson Tide and currently holds an undefeated professional record at 10-0. A win would boost Anders’ popularity up significantly.
Let’s get back to Machida.
The Brazilian is not someone that “needs” to do something before the end of his career. Undoubtedly, he has accomplished everything a fighter could ask for and more. So, why is Machida still fighting?
On the brink of turning 40 in a few months, Machida must feels that this fight against Anders means something. It’s not just about the importance of the fight itself, but the effect it will have on his career. If Machida gets knocked out once again this weekend and for the fourth time in a row, retirement has to be a consideration. With another devastating loss, Machida’s career could become the same as B.J. Penn’s is slowly becoming: legendary, but tarnished.
If Machida loses to Anders this weekend, it is likely that Machida never again fights for a title. So, is it worth it for the aging star to take all the damage he’s sure to endure?
The answer is a hard and certain no. There is absolutely no need for Machida to continue to fight when he simply cannot be competitive against these rising younger fighters.
If we do see another upsetting result this weekend as fans, then Machida should reconsider his options.