Machida Homecoming

For someone that spent his entire life perfecting his craft and finally reaching the pinnacle of his career, I can’t imagine there are too many moments in life that are better than coming home to celebrate the fruits of your labor.

Newly minted UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida got a hero’s welcome from more than 100 fans that greeted him at Belém International airport this week.

“I knew they would have a party for me, but I didn’t expect that much,” said the clearly moved Machida.

Following interviews with a couple of local TV stations and dozens of pictures and autographs with his admirers, Machida, his father Yoshizo and brother Shinzo were taken to their APAM academy in a fire truck. They were trailed by a large caravan that winded through the main streets of Belém (Pará state). The streets were lined with fans that screamed “Champion” and toted signs reading, “Lyoto the pride of Pará, Lyoto our champion.”

“I was born in Bahia, but I came to Pará when I was three months old, so I consider myself a Para citizen,” said Machida. “It was such an unbelievable emotion to see the way people welcomed [me] in the streets. Now it’s the most difficult part — keep the belt.”