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Morning Report: Vitor Belfort not retired yet, planning on coming back in 2019

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Vitor Belfort
Vitor Belfort

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.


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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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