Former UFC Champ Lyoto Machida Signs Multi-Fight Contract with Bellator

Lyoto Machida is moving on from the UFC.

The former light heavyweight champion has agreed in principle to a new multi-fight contract to join Bellator MMA.

Bellator MMA officials confirmed the news in a statement to MMAWeekly on Friday following an initial report from ESPN.

“Bellator is pleased to announce the signing of former world champion Lyoto Machida (24-8) to an exclusive, multi-fight agreement,” Bellator officials said. “We look forward to seeing “The Dragon” compete inside the Bellator cage in the near future.”

Machida leaves the UFC after spending 11 years with the promotion while amassing a 16-8 record overall while competing at both light heavyweight and middleweight.

Machida won the UFC light heavyweight title back in 2009 and made one defense before he was defeated by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. After that time, Machida fought for titles at light heavyweight and middleweight on two separate occasions but came up short both times.

Most recently, Machida came back from a three fight losing streak to win his last two bouts in a row including a stunning front kick knockout to Vitor Belfort in his retirement fight.

Now it appears at 40 years old, Machida is ready to move onto a new promotion as he joins a growing Bellator middleweight division where he holds a win over current champion Gegard Mousasi.

Machida is the latest UFC fighter to exit the Octagon to join Bellator after other such as Ryan Bader, Roy Nelson and Rory MacDonald have gone there over the past couple of years.