One of the most popular mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Vitor Belfort, will retire after competing at UFC 212: Aldo vs. Holloway. The reason “The Phenom” gave for retiring is that “his body is not the same anymore.”
According to a written article by MMA Fighting, Vitor Belfort’s MMA career is coming to an end after competing at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For those who don’t know, the upcoming premier event will be his swan song as it takes place in his hometown.
Belfort himself confirmed that he would have his last fight at UFC 212 during the post-fight interview at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum (also known as UFC Fight Night 106).
“Yes [Answering the question if he will retire after his next fight]. But training for five-round fights is too much for the body. I was in great shape, but he connected some good strikes and it was his night.
“I was well prepared, my team worked hard. It’s frustrating because I was well until one moment, I was confident I was going to get the knockout, and it was the opposite. But that’s it. We need to reinvent ourselves. It wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last. I mean, I hope it’s the last.”
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Take note that Vitor Belfort is in great shape and by the looks of it, he could hang with any MMA fighter who steps in the UFC cage. However, looks are often deceiving especially for someone who is 39 years old with almost 40 fights on his record over the course of over two decades. He is surely feeling the effects of that time and effort in MMA and apparently he knows.
“It’s time to end this chapter as a professional fighter. My body is not the same anymore for training. It’s too much pain. I did more than 14 surgeries. I left everything in the Octagon. I’m sad because I didn’t give the win to my fellow Brazilians, but it happens.”
Vitor Belfort probably also took the hint that it was time to hang up the MMA gloves given his current record. Since his fight against Ronaldo Souza at UFC 198: Werdum vs. Miocic, he has lost via TKO with two of them being in the first round. Souza TKO’d him with punches in the first round. Gerard Mousasi TKO’d him with a head kick and punches in the second round at UFC 204: Bisping vs. Henderson 2, and just recently, Kelvin Gastelum TKO’d him with punches in the first round at UFC Fight Night 106.
The only way Vitor Belfort will not retire from combative MMA is if UFC forms a legends league. According to a written article by MMA Junkie, he believes it will “revolutionize the MMA market,” but more importantly for him, it will keep him employed.
“Unless they [UFC] create this legends’ division, then we can continue a little longer. With that, you’d be able to see a little more of Vitor Belfort.”
Of course many MMA fans are mixed on UFC forming a legends league if we were to look at other MMA promotions that have “legends leagues” of their own, specifically Bellator MMA. Through them, we have seen “legend fights” such as Ken Shamrock versus Royce Gracie for a third time, Shamrock versus the late Kimbo Slice, and Kimbo versus Dada 5000. Though they drew in plenty of viewers, they were highly criticized, often called “freak shows.”
What is set in stone at the moment is that Vitor Belfort will at this moment retire after his fight at UFC 212. His hopes of a rematch against Anderson Silva are slim to none, but he wants to make sure his final fight is special and is currently discussing with UFC who that special opponent should be.
[Featured Image by Buda Mendes/Getty Images]