Vitor Belfort suffered a brutal first round TKO loss to rising Middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum in a fight many thought would have Belfort considering retirement.
When asked at the post-fight press conference if he’ll retire after his final fight left on his contract, Belfort admitted he would as his body is not the same as it once was. “Yes” he replied when asked. “…Training for five-round fights is too much for the body. I was in great shape, but he connected some good strikes and it was his night.”
Belfort said he’s ready to step away after all the years he’s put in and because of the painful toll being a professional fighter has taken on him over the course of his career. “It’s time to end this chapter as a professional fighter,” he said. “My body is not the same anymore for training. It’s too much pain. I did more than 14 surgeries. I left everything in the Octagon. I’m sad because I didn’t give the win to my fellow Brazilians, but it happens.”
Although nothing is set, Belfort said he’d like to fight his last bout in his home country of Brazil but doesn’t yet have an opponent in mind. “I don’t have any names off the top of my head,” Belfort said. “I just don’t want to fight a Brazilian in Brazil. We have to sit down with the UFC and see which opponent would be an interesting fight. I never turned down fights, always fought the toughest ones in the division, but the last fight has to be special for the fans. Let’s see if that’s possible.”
Belfort’s loss to Gastelum was his third straight and he falls to 25-14.
Cervantes Analysis: Vitor Belfort has been one of the most exciting fighters in the Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Divisions for years, and was one of my favorite fighters growing up. His explosive style and power made a him fan favorite and kept him among the top contenders in the sport for years, well beyond what many fighters his age could do. Hearing Belfort discuss how badly his body hurts these days reminds me that, even though fighters are world class athletes, they still deal with a considerable amount of pain on a daily basis, especially as they age. Hopefully the UFC grants his wish and allows him to go out the way he wants to fighting in Brazil.
NOW CHECK OUT THIS RECENT NEW STORY: Kelvin Gastelum speaks out against GSP getting a title shot, asks why have contender rankings (w/Cervantes Analysis)