ST. LOUIS – “Never say never,” Vitor Belfort on Friday said about the odds he’ll eschew his planned retirement after UFC Fight Night 124.
But maybe he was being prophetic. Belfort (26-13 MMA, 15-10 UFC) couldn’t have known at the time that his opponent this weekend, Uriah Hall (13-8 MMA, 6-6 UFC), would fail to step on the scale earlier today at the official weigh-ins, thereby cancelling their co-main event.
The plan for the Brazilian fighting legend was that he was going to hang up the gloves after Sunday’s fight so he can pursue a career on the business side of fighting and training.
“With my vision as an executive, I think I can accomplish a lot of stuff – and have big checks, and help a lot of people, and make the sport grow,” Belfort told MMAjunkie after his workout for fans and media members Friday.
But with his hope for that one final fight dashed the day before it was set to take place, maybe there’s a chance Belfort will hold off on the retirement so he can close his career when the UFC returns to Rio de Janeiro in his home country of Brazil this summer.
That’s what led to Belfort’s “never say never” comment, which seems way more appropriate now in the wake of the Hall news.
UFC Fight Night 124 takes place Sunday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass – just without Belfort and Hall in the co-feature.
Belfort said he believes MMA has a future as an Olympic sport. But to get there, he thinks there will need to be sacrifices made in the near term, perhaps in order for the sport to endear itself to the kinds of people who sit on Olympic committees and make such decisions. To that end, Belfort believes MMA needs to be less entertainment and more pure sport.
But that doesn’t seem to be the reason he’s ready to get out of the fight game. More likely, 40 fights and the wear and tear of being a 40-year-old athlete competing against much younger opponents helped make that decision.
That was supposed to be the case Sunday against Hall.
“I’m just happy – when you’re happy, you just go with the flow,” he said. “You’ve just got to be content. Life is good. I’m here. I went so far (in my career), so for me it’s joy to be here an be able to compete against one of the fiercest guys – old generation and new generation. For me, it’s a gift.”
Belfort said he wanted to just put in the best performance he could, even if the odds were stacked against him, and even if there are fans who want to see “The Phenom” of old.
“Just fight the best I can – that’s the only thing I want,” Belfort said. “I want to fight the best version of myself now. It’s very unfortunate people want to compare – they want me to bring the young Vitor (back). It’s impossible for all of us. We need to understand that – the cycle of life, I have good things on my behalf and bad things on my behalf. That’s life. You’ve just got to go with it and accept it.”
It remains to be seen if they’ll get that one final chance to see how Belfort goes out, or if he’ll stick to his plan and retire now, despite not getting that one final fight.
For more from Belfort from Friday, check out the video above. And stay tuned to MMAjunkie for updates from Belfort once he comments on the Hall news.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Vitor Belfort was happy with retirement choice – but that was before Uriah Hall pulled out at UFC-St. Louis