NEW YORK – Lyoto Machida seems to have a knack for retiring opponents. Chael Sonnen's announcement after Bellator 222 marked the third time someone has gone off the sport after being knocked out by "The Dragon."
Machida (26-8 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), the former UFC champion, earned a second-round TKO of Sonnen (30-16-1 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) in Friday's co-headliner. at Madison Square Garden.
Sonnen joins Randy Couture and Vitor Belfort as fighters who have announced their retirement after losing to the Brazilian, but Machida said he's not something he's relishes.
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"To be honest, I do not think anything about that," Machida told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at Bellator 222. "I feel it's a honor for me to be part of his history and share the cage with Chael Sonnen, Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, because I think these guys have legends in the sport. That's part of their story, for me, I'm so grateful for that. "
When asked bluntly if he believes Sonnen made the right choice by announcing his retirement, Machida said he was not really his place to make such a judgement
"It's up to him," Machida said. "It's hard to say anything about that, because you have to respect the time of everyone. If Chael thinks he has to retire then we just have to respect his decision and appreciate what he has been doing for the sport. He was considered one of the best in the sport, so you have to respect that. "
Machida had a great deal of his way with Sonnen at Bellator 222. He found himself with his back against the cage in the opening seconds of the fight, but
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There have been criticisms of Sonnen in the past for giving up in times of adversity. Machin said Sonnen earned his full respect, though, and while he did not retire on a win, Sonnen showed his durability and heart one last time.
"Chael is a very tough opponent," Machida said. "It was definitely my game plan to wait for the right moment. I did not know. I did not expect that Chael would come too much. He comes so fast and too much to me, so I could not control the distance right away. But I got my timing and threw the knee, and I could hit him strong. "
For a complete coverage of Bellator 222, check out the MMA Events section of the site