Retirements in MMA are notoriously short-lived but this may be some kind of record.
Earlier this year, after a 22-year career in the sport, MMA legend Vitor Belfort finally hung up his gloves, following a knockout loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 224. Belfort had been teasing retirement for a while before then but finally decided to walk away after the bout, even if it was with some trepidation. But just seven months removed from that loss, it appears the trepidation won out. On Monday, Belfort told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that he was coming out of retirement and would be back to fighting next year.
“I’m going to keep going - not stopping. I am a free agent. We are in conversation [with promotions]. In 2019, I will come back.”
Belfort originally planned to retire from fighting back in 2017 but backtracked on those ideas in the lead up to his fight with Nate Marquardt. After beating Marquardt (with his first decision win in a decade) Belfort decided to run it back one final time against Machida but it always seemed like Belfort wasn’t rock solid on retirement. With his body still feeling up to the challenge, Belfort says he had to adjust his previous decision.
“I never plan, but I remember in 2007, I made a decision, ‘OK, I’m going to be fighting until I’m 40,’” said Belfort. “Here I am, finishing this plan I made in 2007. You’ve got to respect your body and know the time to transition to what’s next. A lot of athletes cannot transition. They don’t have nothing to do after.”
Belfort began teasing a comeback as early as June, posting to Instagram asking fans whether he should rematch Wanderlei Silva or Tito Ortiz. Coincidentally, neither of those fighters is under UFC contract and it seems likely that Belfort’s return to MMA will not be a return to the UFC.
”We are looking for a place where we can be a fighter and be the athlete and we can bring value,” Belfort said. “I am very thankful with what UFC provided me and I saw how UFC was run by very smart businessmen. They gave me the opportunity to create my own platform.
“I have so much things that I want accomplish and I think the sport needs a change.”
Belfort is a surefire UFC Hall of Famer. He made his promotional debut at UFC 12, winning the one-night heavyweight tournament in a combined two minutes. He won the UFC light heavyweight championship at UFC 46. After a prolonged hiatus from the organization, he returned in 2009 and became a standout middleweight in the organization, racking up six Performance bonuses and and 12 knockouts, the most of anyone in organizational history. His record stands at 26-14 and 1 no-contest.
USADA. UFC welterweight Stefan Sekulić suspended two years for USADA violation.
Ratings. Final ratings for UFC on FOX 31 fall closer to 2018 average.
Fighters who competed outside their optimal weight class.
Sage trying local food in Singapore is well worth your time.
Gustafsson highlight reel.
Obviously Fight Talk. Analyzing the UFC’s final outing on Big FOX.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
I want to thank the UFC for the opportunity to fight at UFC 231 and my opponent Jimi Manuwa for honoring our commitment after the bout in São Paulo fell through. I believe we honored our fans with an electrifying bout in Toronto! @ufc @UFC_CA pic.twitter.com/DbH3Pn7Cv8— Thiago Marreta (@TMarretaMMA) December 19, 2018
@DominickCruz I wish you the best of luck with your recovery, Champ. I’ve had two shoulder surgeries myself and you’ve had a streak of bad luck with injuries as well. I’m praying you beat the injury this time again and come back and conquer your division again.— Siyar The Great (@Siyarized) December 19, 2018
Huge loss for the Martial Arts community today. A Dutch legend who meant a lot for our sport. Rest in peace my friend Jon Bluming. pic.twitter.com/XNYHYpqFyO— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) December 18, 2018
This went somewhere different.
It’s a spiritual journey that involves a lot more than just what you see. When you win you get this release that is unexplainable. Finally I can get a boner again pic.twitter.com/IelrPdLoBo— Brian Kelleher (@brianboom135) December 18, 2018
Time to call it a day. I’ve worked hard and done more then I ever imagined I would. The truth isn’t what I want it to be but it is what it is and the only thing I can do is to accept it. pic.twitter.com/Y5hw0tZSqM— Luka Jelcic (@JelcicLuka) December 16, 2018
Conor the film maker.
Missed this but apparently the UFC is unveiling a new belt design for next year.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Screw it: who should Vitor come back against?
This poll is closed