Vitor Belfort is ready to hang up his gloves.
Save the UFC opening up its version of a classic rock station, Belfort intends to fulfill his current contract and then retire.
Kelvin Gastelum knocked Belfort out in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 106 main event on Saturday night in Fortaleza, Brazil, handing the Brazilian his third consecutive defeat. It’s not the way that Belfort saw the fight unfolding, but afterward, he revealed his retirement plan.
“I was confident I was going to knock (Gastelum) out, (but) everything happened in reverse,” Belfort said at the post-fight press conference. “But that’s it. We have to reinvent ourselves. It won’t be the first, it won’t be the last.
“I hope it is the last, because in July, I want to do the last fight on my contract. I think it’s my time to finish my chapter in this as a professional fighter.”
Belfort explained that he would like the final fight on his contract to happen at UFC 212 in July, when the UFC returns to Rio de Janeiro, Belfort’s hometown. It’s a decision that Belfort said he made prior to stepping into the Octagon with Gastelum, he just hadn’t announced it yet.
“I think that my body is not the same to train, a lot of pain. It’s over 14 surgeries that I’ve done. I think I’ve left everything inside the Octagon. It wasn’t in the best way. I’m sad not to give this win to my fans here in Brazil, but it’s part of it. The sport is this way. It was Kelvin’s night to shine.”
There is an option to give Belfort’s fighting career further life. In the media build-up to the fight, Belfort described a “Legend’s League” in which older fighters could compete under a separate set of rules tailored to fighters in the twilight years of their careers. The league could have shorter rounds, longer rest periods, modified rules, etc.
If that were to happen, Belfort could see himself, and others, fighting a little longer. But if the UFC doesn’t entertain the idea, Belfort’s next fight will be his last. He would instead continue to put more focus on his family and his business endeavors.
“I’ll go home and focus on my family, reinvent myself.”