Former light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort was set to fight for the last time on January 18 against Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night 124 but Hall was forced out of the bout they day before the event due to weight cutting issues. On May 12, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, “The Phenom” will make the walk to the cage the final time against fellow Brazilian and former champ Lyoto Machida.
Belfort began his fighting career in 1996. He won the UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament at 19-years old. Now 40, Belfort’s closing the book on his legendary career. He’s fought the who’s who of the 205-pound and 185-pound divisions and will face another former champion in the UFC 224 co-main event.
The historic significance of the fight isn’t lost on Machida. He’s trained with Belfort before and is honored to be the last person to stand opposite Belfort inside the octagon.
“This fight, if it’s really his last fight, it’s an honor to be part of this event because it’s a historic moment,” said Machida during the UFC 224 press conference. “He’s a guy that helped build this sport. He’s done a lot for the sport and in Brazil and throughout the world. So to be part of this moment, it’s an honor for me.”
Belfort and Machida are both prolific strikers. The matchup has the makings of being a fan-friendly bout that has a high probability of ending in a knockout. Machida believes those in attendance at Jeunesse Arena in May are in for a treat.
“We’ll put on a show. I believe this fight is good for everyone: me, Vitor, the fans, for everyone. I think that everyone will like to watch this fight, so it’s a good fight for everyone,” he said.