Lyoto Machida continues to be away from the fray in a busy UFC middleweight division for more than a year. It is also likely to be close to another year before he is able to jump back in it.

Machida (22-7 MMA, 14-7 UFC) has not fought since his knockout loss to Yoel Romero in July 2015 at UFC Fight Night 70. He was slated to fight Dan Henderson at UFC on FOX 19 in April but was withdrawn from the bout during fight week when he confessed to using of a prohibited substance.

The ex- UFC light-heavyweight champion and No. 9 fighter in the United States TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, confessed to consuming 7‐keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (7‐keto‐DHEA), a hormonal supplement. In spite of the admission coming before he competed or had flunked a drug test, “The Dragon” consented to an 18-month suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

The suspension doesn’t expire until October 2017, which means that Machida may have spent more than two years on the sidelines before he returns. The landscape of the 185-pound weight class may change considerably by then, and though champion Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) is expected to make his subsequent defense against No. 2-ranked Romero ( 12-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC), Machida believes No. 4 ranked Ronaldo Souza (23-4 MMA, 6-1 UFC) who will hold the gold shortly afterward. Read more »

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