Capping off a nearly three-decade-long career in mixed martial arts (MMA), Vitor Belfort (26-13 1 NC) will reportedly retire following his fight with Uriah Hall on Sunday night in St. Louis.
Belfort, who briefly held the light heavyweight belt in the mid aughts, fought for several UFC titles in his lengthy career, falling short to Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Chris Weidman.
“The Phenom” revealed his intention to retire this weekend during an interview with UFC Unfiltered:
“I think we got to know the time to start and I think we need to know the time to end.”
“Life is about seasons, and I think you got to know the seasons. I think I did more than enough. Sometimes I flashback and say, ‘Wow I’m still doing this. Wow, it’s crazy.’ And I’m very thankful, but I think my body needs a rest.”
Belfort will ostensibly finish out his career against fellow middleweight striker Uriah Hall. A few years ago, Belfort would have been the prohibitive favorite during his TRT use, but his body and aggression have noticeably deteriorated since USADA began seriously cracking down on performance-enhancing drug use in MMA.
For that reason, coupled with a failed drug test, there will always be an asterisk next to Belfort’s name when discussing his legacy.
However, when Belfort was on, he was the epitome of fast-twitch muscle violence; his head kick knockouts of Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping, and Dan Henderson and his iconic 44-second knockout of Wanderlei Silva will forever remain etched in the annals of UFC knockout highlight reels.
Belfort’s career may have had its controversy, but the man is a pioneer of the sport for both Brazilian and North American MMA.
If Sunday is his last fight, then more power to him. But in MMA retirement is thrown about rather recklessly, and we’ve heard him say he would step down before.
Have we truly seen the last of “The Phenom” after Sunday night?