If you’ve been planning to throw a Vitor Belfort retirement bash, alongside a UFC 212 viewing party, well, you might need to change gears…
Belfort is booked to fight Nate Marquardt at the June 3rd event, which will go down in Rio de Janeiro. The fight is the last on Belfort’s current UFC deal, and since the 40 year-old has noted that it will be his last with the promotion, many took that as a sign he’ll be retiring. Further, the UFC has not announced any plans to introduce a legend’s division, which is something Belfort has said would have him return to the Octagon.
“(I will) leave the UFC, but I’ll continue competing,” Belfort said. “Fight is my passion. Too bad that MMA hasn’t become a serious sport yet. Maybe I’ll help change this scenario. Today, a fighter is more artist than athlete. The UFC is a show, not a sport. It’s sad to see new fighters wanting to drive the card of the moment or be in the spotlight like Conor McGregor. Their reference is to have, not to be.”
This is interesting on a couple of fronts. One, it sounds like Belfort believes there’s no chance of inking a new deal with the UFC, even if he defeats Marquardt. The legendary fighter has scored only one win in his last five bouts. Then of course, there’s the part where it seems like he plans to keep fighting. So, one would think organizations like Bellator and Rizin FF will come calling.
The 38 year-old Marquardt, meanwhile, is 2-3 in his last 5 contests.