Childhood & Early Life
Lyoto Carvalho Machida was born on May 30, 1978, in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. He is of mixed origin as his father, Yoshizo Machida, is of Japanese ethnicity, while his mother, Ana Claudia, is of Portuguese and Italian descent. Yoshizo, who served as the head of ‘Japan Karate Association’ in Brazil, was Machida’s first karate teacher.
He grew up in Belém, where he started practicing karate at the age of three. When he was eight years old, he started practicing sumo. He earned his black belt in karate when he was 13. At the age of 16, he started practicing boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He started participating in amateur tournaments, including the 2000 ‘Brazilian Sumo Championships’ where he was the runner-up in the 115 kg division.
In 2001, he won the ‘Pan American Karate’ tournament before traveling to Thailand to learn Muay Thai. He also learned grappling techniques at the ‘NJPW Dojo’ in Japan. Along with learning different types of martial arts, he also pursued college education and graduated with a degree in physical education (P.E).
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Machida started his career in Japan under the management of MMA pioneer Antonio Inoki. He made his professional debut in a winning effort against Japanese mixed martial artist Kengo Watanabe on May 2, 2003. In the same year, he defeated Stephan Bonnar in a Brazilian MMA promotion called ‘Jungle Fight.’ The fight marked Bonnar’s first professional loss.
He made his UFC debut against Sam Hoger and won the match by unanimous decision at the end of three rounds. On April 21, 2007, he defeated David Heath at ‘UFC 70: Nations Collide,’ which took place in Manchester. At ‘UFC 76: Knockout,’ he faced and experienced Kazuhiro Nakamura, but defeated him quite convincingly.
Thereafter, he was up against Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou at ‘UFC 79: Nemesis’ on December 29, 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada. He defeated Sokoudjou in the second round of the fight when Sokoudjou submitted to an arm-triangle choke.
On May 24, 2008, he faced former Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz at ‘UFC 84.’ Despite several attempts, Ortiz couldn’t execute his chokeholds against Machida. At the end of three rounds, all the judges decided the fight in favor of Machida by a score of 30–27.
At ‘UFC 94,’ he faced fellow Brazilian fighter Thiago Silva in his first co-main event. Before the fight, UFC President Dana White had indicated that Machida might receive a title opportunity if he beats Thiago Silva. Machida knocked out Silva in the first round of the match and won his first ‘Knockout of the Night’ bonus award.
At ‘UFC 98,’ Machida was pitted against Rashad Evans for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Evans was knocked out by Machida in the second round of the match.
Not only did Machida win the championship, but also earned his second ‘Knockout of the Night’ bonus of $60,000.
In his first title defense, Machida was pitted against Maurício Rua at ‘UFC 104’ on October 24, 2009. Machida won the closely contested match, as all the judges adjudged the fight 48–47 in Machida’s favor. One of the judges stated that Machida’s strikes were more damaging throughout the fight and that he was more aggressive than his opponent. However, writers of various sports magazines and the audience in attendance claimed that Rua had performed better and that he was more aggressive throughout the fight. Because of the controversy surrounding the decision, Machida and Rua locked horns again in a rematch.
The rematch took place at ‘UFC 113’ on May 8, 2010, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The fight ended before the completion of the first round with Rua knocking out Machida. Rua became the new Light Heavyweight Champion, while Machida suffered the first loss of his MMA career.
In his first fight since losing the championship, Machida lost to Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson at ‘UFC 123.’ He was then asked to face Randy Couture at ‘UFC 129.’ Machida won the fight in the second round by knocking his opponent out with a jumping front kick. His kick was similar to the famous ‘crane kick’ shown in the 1984 film, ‘The Karate Kid.’ At the end of the fight, Machida earned his third ‘Knockout of the Night’ bonus.
On December 10, 2011, Machida faced Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones in the main event of ‘UFC 140.’ Though Machida lost the fight, he was honored with the ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus award.
On August 21, 2013, Dana White announced that Machida would be competing in the middleweight division. His first fight in the middleweight division was against his training partner and friend Mark Muñoz. Machida defeated Muñoz and earned his fourth ‘Knockout of the Night’ bonus.
He earned his second ‘Fight of the Night’ award in a winning effort against Gegard Mousasi at ‘UFC Fight Night 36.’ At ‘UFC 175,’ Machida took on Chris Weidman for the Middleweight Championship. Though he lost the fight, he won his third ‘Fight of the Night’ award for his impressive performance.
On December 20, 2014, Machida faced C.B. Dollaway at ‘UFC Fight Night 58.’ Just 62 seconds into the fight, Machida landed a body kick that made Dollaway lose his balance. He then landed multiple strikes and won the match via technical knockout (TKO) and earned his first ‘Performance of the Night’ award.
On April 13, 2016, ‘UFC’ announced that Machida had used a banned substance. He was expected to fight Dan Henderson on April 16 at ‘UFC on Fox 19.’ However, he was pulled out of the fight after he admitted to using a substance banned by the ‘USADA.’ He was subsequently suspended by the ‘USADA’ for 18 months.
In his first fight after making a comeback, he faced Derek Brunson at ‘UFC Fight Night 119’ where he lost the match in the first round. At ‘UFC 224,’ he knocked out Vitor Belfort which earned him his second ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus award. In June 2018, Machida was signed by ‘Bellator MMA.’