Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida is competing for the first time since being suspended by USADA when he faces Derek Brunson in the main event of UFC Fight Night Sao Paulo.
At first, the former champion didn’t want to accept the suspension, but he started to grow as a person once he did just that.
“While I was fighting all of this, trying to find a culprit, saying (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) was being too strict on the punishment and this and that, I wasn’t growing as a person,” Machida said at a press conference. “My career stopped. The minute I had the acceptance and the responsibility that I made a mistake, everything started changing in my life. Things started going well. And things started happening – different things – that weren’t in the octagon, that weren’t fight opportunities. But (they) were learning experiences for my life, things that helped me as a human, as a person. So I don’t blame anyone. It was my fault.”
Machida hasn’t competed since UFC Fight Night 70, where he suffered a brutal loss to Yoel Romero.
The former champ also took some time during the suspension to reevaluate both his life and professional MMA career.
“I saw that as a moment that I needed to step away a bit,” Machida said. “I needed this hiatus to grow, too. I took some time for myself. I wanted to step away from all of this, from the media. I wanted to see things from the outside, from a different angle. And I had that opportunity with this. I capitalized on it and developed other things. Often, we think life has only one path. And this showed me there are other paths in life.”
UFC Fight Night Sao Paulo takes place on Saturday, October 28 from the Ibirapueroa Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil with Lyoto Machida and Derek Brunson headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on Fox Sports 1.