Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida will soon debut with Bellator MMA.
Last week, the UFC veteran signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator after they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Machida will likely compete in the middleweight division, which is currently fronted by champion Gegard Mousasi.
Mousasi recently offered his thoughts on Bellator picking up Machida. He believes The Dragon ultimately left the promotion due to the extensive drug testing protocol put in place by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) (via Bloody Elbow):
“He’s older, and there was drug testing in the UFC,” Mousasi said. “But if I fight him, he would need a lot of drug testing, too.”
In November 2016, “The Dragon” fell victim to USADA after disclosing his use of 7-keto-DHEA, which USADA classifies as an anabolic agent, and was given an 18-month suspension.
Mousasi just needs to take on look at the Brazilian’s physique the first time they fought in February 2014 to conclude that he was in fact taking performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs):
“Look at his physique, I think that says enough,” Mousasi said. “He’s a skilled guy, no doubt about it, but when you get older, everything goes a little bit downward. Fighters, they cannot fight until 47 years old as they did before. If they’re clean, it’s difficult, especially against high-class fighters.”
“They can beat a little bit lower guys, but against top competition, it’s difficult when you’re 41 or whatever and still be able to physically – skillwise, maybe, but on the highest level, small things make a big difference.”
Should Mousasi and Machida find themselves rematching at some point down the road in Bellator, after Machida won their initial meeting back via decision, the Bellator middleweight champ will request extensive drug testing – but is willing to do it again:
“I think he’s in a different stage now, and if he wins his (debut) fight, and he’s the contender, we’re 100% gonna (fight again).”