Lyoto Machida will make his Bellator MMA debut next weekend at Bellator 213 where he’ll face former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho, but he also has his eye on future challenges -- including one past victim.
If Machida defeats Carvalho, he’s made it clear he would like to face the winner of Gegard Mousasi and Rafael Lovato Jr., who are set to do battle for Mousasi’s Bellator middleweight title.
“The Dragon” told MMA Junkie that he wouldn’t mind facing Ryan Bader in a future bout as well. Bader currently holds the 205-pound belt in Bellator and may become a two-division champion, as he is set to take on Fedor Emelianenko in the finals of Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix.
“When I signed with Bellator, my offer was to flow between the two divisions,” Machida said. “To fight in below, above, to take on great challenges. And I’m trying to always pursue that: challenges. And, for me, the 205-pound division is a challenge, as well. Ryan Bader has always shown himself an upstanding guy. He’s a very honorable fighter in what he does, you can see that on his behavior, and all. But, as professionals, we want to face the best. And I, for sure, also want to fight the 205-pound champion, who is Ryan Bader.”
While Machida has been competing at middleweight of late, his greatest career achievements came at light heavyweight, where he won an Ultimate Fighting Championship title. Notably, Machida’s résumé includes a win over Bader, whom he knocked out in sensational fashion in the second round of their meeting at UFC on Fox 4 in August of 2012.
Bellator 213 takes place Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Neil S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is the second night of Bellator’s double-header in Honolulu. It will be headlined by a flyweight title fight featuring Hawaiian champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defending her belt against Valerie Letourneau.