Last weekend, on the main card of UFC 224, MMA legend Vitor Belfort stepped into the UFC’s Octagon for a final time. His opponent in this swan song was a fellow Brazilian legend in Lyoto Machida.
Regrettably, Belfort’s Hall-of-Fame worthy career didn’t wrap up the way he planned. Instead, he had his batteries removed by a second-round front-kick to the face — the very same maneuver that Anderson Silva used to beat him in 2011, and the same kick Machida used to retire Randy Couture that same year.
Shortly after this tough loss, Belfort took to Instagram to issue a quick statement. Though he did not comment on his retirement, he did acknowledge the undeniable absurdity of being knocked out with a crane kick for the second time in his career, comparing the loss to being struck by lighting twice.
“Who said a lightning doesn’t strike at the same place twice?” Belfort said in his Instagram post, which showed video of both of his crane kick-induced knockout losses. “All my respect to [Lyoto Machida].”
While Belfort has assured his career in the Octagon is over, there has been rampant speculation that he might take his fistic services elsewhere in the future — perhaps to Rizin or Bellator.
Whatever the case, Belfort’s career stands out as a truly legendary one. Under the UFC, PRIDE, Affliction and Strikeforce banners, he’s thrived at middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight, defeating top-flight foes like Wanderlei Silva, Heath Herring, Marvin Eastman, Randy Couture, Matt Lindland, Rich Franklin, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, Dan Henderson and Nate Marquardt. At the time of his ostensible retirement, he owns an overall record of 26-14 (1).
Do you think we’ve truly seen the last of Vitor Belfort in the cage? Join the debate in the comments section below!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/14/2018.