Lyoto Machida Explains How His USADA Suspensions Saved His Fighting Career

Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida says his suspension from the UFC has been a blessing in disguise.

After testing positive for a banned substance, Machida received an 18-month suspension from the U.S Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) dating back to April 2016.

During a recent interview with ESPN, Machida said he would likely be retired right now had he not been suspended over a year ago.

“Some things that happen in life, you can’t understand at the time,” Machida said. “But at the end of the day you understand, ‘I needed this. I needed this time.’

“If I had kept doing what I was doing, I would probably be retired. You never know, but the way I was dealing with everything — not just the fights, but the stress — I couldn’t be 100 percent. I couldn’t show my skill.”

Prior to being suspended Lyoto Machida was on a two-fight losing streak. He was coming off a knockout loss to Yoel Romero and a submission loss to Luke Rockhold.

“I think there was something wrong in my mind,” Machida said. “I just kept doing the same thing, expecting different results.

“Your mind gets tired and you need to find a different goal to achieve again. You can’t just do anything for the money or to feed your family. I was at a moment in my life where I was just training and competing because it was normal. Now, I have a goal back. I’m starving to fight. I want to be a champion again.”

Machida is scheduled to make his return to the Octagon on Oct. 28. He will fight middleweight contender Derek Brunson in the main event of a UFC Fight Night in Sao Paulo, Brazil.