Former UFC light-heavyweight and tournament champion Vitor Belfort announced he would retire after fighting on home soil seven months ago.
Then he said he wanted five more fights.
But in advance of a meeting with Uriah Hall (13-8 MMA, 6-6 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 124, Belfort (26-13 MMA, 15-9 UFC) declares he’ll hang up his gloves – really.
“This is my retirement fight, so after this, I’ll put my body to rest,” Belfort told the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast.
Belfort, who meets Hall in the FS1-televised co-headliner of Sunday’s fight card at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, said he’s on the cusp of rolling out a group fitness program in Brazil and wants to focus his efforts on growing a business. He also wants to spend time with his children.
“Life is about seasons, and I think you’ve got to know the seasons,” he told the podcast. “I think I did more than enough. Sometimes I flash back and say, ‘Wow, I’m still doing this. This is crazy.’ I’m very thankful, but I think my body needs to rest.”
Prior to a fight with Kelvin Gastelum this past March at UFC Fight Night 106, Belfort pushed the UFC to create a “legends league” to keep fighters like him active in the promotion. The idea met with positive reviews from fighters, but never gained much traction beyond that.
Then Belfort suffered his third consecutive knockout loss, and calls for retirement grew louder. Belfort subsequently announced his next fight would take place in Brazil and would be his last.
The announcement didn’t stick. After outpointing Marquardt, Belfort signed on to face Hall.
As Belfort explained it, the fight still fits in with his retirement plan. In 2007, he vowed to retire at age 40. He’s just three months away from turning 41, so he’s got a little time left.
A living legend and the sole representative of the UFC’s no-holds-barred days, Belfort said good training methods have helped him avoid excessive damage over the years. Still, the wear and tear from two decades in the octagon are inescapable.
“You cannot tell me the 40-year-old has a fresh body,” he said. “Of course, it’s not the same. But I knew how to take care of my body. But it’s time. I’ve got kids, and I think I’ve donated a lot of time and a lot of stuff to the sport.
“I’m still relevant to the sport, but I need to walk away. That was my journey, I accomplished a lot of great things, and I want to do other great things. I’m going to the second journey of life, and I’m happy.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
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