Some fighters know when it's time to walk away. Even then, they still try to prolong their combat careers a bit longer.
Case in point, after Vitor Belfort suffered a first round knockout loss to Kelvin Gastelum at last night's UFC Fight Night 106 event in Fortaleza, Brazil (see it) — his third straight loss — "The Phenom" declared during the post fight press conference that his next fight inside the Octagon would be his last of his contract and career.
"I want to continue fighting, but I have to recognize there comes a time the training is very tiring for someone who’s been fighting 20 years,” Belfort said via MMA Junkie.
“I was confident I was going to knock him out, and everything happened in reverse,” Belfort explained. “But that’s it. We have to reinvent ourselves, and it won’t be the first, it won’t be the last. I mean, I hope it is the last, because in July, I want to do the last fight of my contract. I think it’s my time to finish my chapter in this as a professional fighter.
“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, but it’s part of it. The sport is this way," he added.
Indeed, Belfort has been competing against the best of the best for over 20 years, so seeing him realize that his best days are indeed behind him is rather refreshing.
That said, Belfort reiterates his wish to see UFC create a legends league that would allow himself and the rest of the aging veterans who wish to keep fighting prolong their careers.
Accordimg to MMA Junkie, these are the stipulations Belfort had laid forth.
One with three-minute rounds, 90-second breaks, no elbows, no knees, and a maximum of 30 seconds on the ground.
“With that, you’d be able to see a little more of Vitor Belfort,” he added.
Though creative, most would agree it would be a real long shot to see UFC take into consideration. But, you can't blame Vitor for lobbying, as those big paydays are pretty hard to walk away from.
For complete UFC Fight Night 106 results and coverage click here.