The man who was once reported to have ‘no known weaknesses,’ turned out to have one: Time. It’s hard to believe that The Phenom has been fighting since 1996 and is about to strap on the gloves to fight this Sunday at UFC Missouri. He’s beaten all your favorite fighters in every different era: Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Randy Couture, Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping. After legendary victories, highlight reel knockouts and a UFC belt, Belfort is finally walking away at the age of 40.
“This is my retirement fight. After that I’m going to put my body to rest. This is it. Breaking news. I think I did more than enough. Just to think back, sometimes I flashback just like Matt [Sera] said, and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m still doing this, wow man, this is crazy.’ I’m very thankful, but I think my body need to rest. I have other things, I have a business of my own, I developed have a system, I developed a group class training system that we’re going to franchise. I just want to leave to help the sport in a way, work with the sport and help and do other things. We got to know the time to start and I think we need to know the time to end and it’s about time.”
I am around since 1977 pic.twitter.com/5NVTzznuLD
— Vitor Belfort (@vitorbelfort) December 12, 2017
“You cannot tell me that the 40-year-old has a fresh body. Of course, it’s not the same. I’m very fortunate that I knew how to, I had a lot of experience and I had the chance to work with the best coaches and fitness products in the world, so I knew how to take care of my body, but I think it’s time you know. I’ve got kids and I want to be able to, I think I donate a lot of time in a lot of stuff to the sport and I think it’s time. I see the sport is growing and there are great talents. I’m just leaving the sport where guys in my era are never expected to still be fighting and still be relevant. I think I need to walk away and that was my journey. I accomplished a lot of great things and I want to do all the great things. I’m about to start on my second journey of life and I’m happy.” — Vitor Belfort speaking on the UFC Unfiltered podcast transcribed via MMA NYTT.
His last win was against Nate Marquardt, who just retired himself. Before that, it was a fight with Kelvin Gastelum who was 14-years younger than the MMA veteran. To give you an idea, South Park made its debut and Gastelum was only 6-years old while Vitor Belfort was making his UFC debut. It’s an incredible career that Belfort has had which will culminate with his fight against Uriah Hall in just three days.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/11/2018.