Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida is gearing up for his second bout under the Bellator banner.
“The Dragon” will face fellow former UFC star Chael Sonnen. They will co-main event Bellator 222 from Madison Square Garden in New York City on June 14. The card is headlined by a welterweight title bout between Rory MacDonald and Neiman Gracie.
Should Machida emerge victorious, he could be looking at a title bout in either the middleweight or light heavyweight division. Those divisions are championed by Gegard Mousasi and Ryan Bader, respectively. However, Machida holds victories over both men in his career.
In regards to which fighter he’d like to see next, Machida told MMA Fighting, “whatever comes first” (via BJPenn.com):
“Whatever comes first. What comes first, I’ll be ready,” said Machida. “I would like to be a champion. That is one of my goals in Bellator. I did not come to Bellator just to play around, to just be here to make money. That is not my purpose here.
“My purpose here is to be a champion and to be an inspiration to all the fighters. That is why I still wake up every morning and train with a lot of will and motivation because I want to help other people. I just, I don’t want to just help myself. I would love to fight Ryan Bader again. He is the heavyweight champion to now.
“He is huge, he has grown a lot and improved a lot. I believe that is a fight that everyone would like to see.”
Machida knocked Bader out in the second round of their UFC fight back in 2012. Two years later, he defeated Mousasi by way of unanimous decision in what was Fight Of The Night. Who is to say Machida couldn’t go after both men’s titles? When asked about the possibility of becoming a Bellator “Champ Champ,” Machida had this to say:
“That is the goal! That is the goal man.”