Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has a certain goal in mind for 2018.

That goal is to fight quite often and ultimately get in a position where he can be challenging for a UFC title belt.

He competed inside the Octagon for the first time in over two years in October but lost to Derek Brunson by first-round TKO in Brazil. If you recall, Machida was suspended for 18 months due to an anti-doping violation.

Machida did declare his usage of a product containing the banned substance 7-keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is a steroid. Machida also confirmed the use of the product and said he did not know it contained a prohibited drug.

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Once his sample was tested, it came back with an elevated 7β-hydroxy-DHEA to DHEA ratio during a sample collection in April 2016. He then picked up a victory over Eryk Anders in a middleweight bout in the main event of UFC Belem.

Now, Machida is expected to face Vitor Belfort at the UFC 224 pay-per-view. In a recent interview with MMAJunkie, he opened up on his plans.

“My focus is to add another win to my record, and to go up the rankings,” Machida recently told MMAjunkie. “I want to do four fights this year. Considering the breaks I plan to take, and how much time I’ll have, I think it would be a good number of bouts. My goal is to earn my way to another (title shot).”

“Vitor has had an important role in the UFC,” Machida said. “He is part of the group of athletes that left their name engraved in the history of the sport, and that made Brazilians fall in love with MMA. When I came to Rio early in the career, he opened the doors of his home to me. I respect him a lot as a professional and as a person. Of course, this feeling will not change my desire to emerge victorious. As I said, I always try to leave everything that doesn’t belong in the octagon outside.

“Inside, we will be two professionals giving our best to put on a show for the fans, and to win. This fight will be a classic of the sport.”

UFC 224 is set to take place on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Andrew Ravens has been writing about combat sports since 2013 and has been a fan for over ten years! Andrew brings a different style to his work with an insider look into the fighters themselves.