It was widely believed that Vitor Belfort would have his final fight vs. Nate Marquardt at UFC 212 on June 3 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Having fought professionally at the highest levels of the sport for over 20 years, the retirement is earned several times over.
However, The Phenom has had a change of heart. He wants to keep fighting, but not in the UFC. Belfort’s manager Gustavo Lacerda appeared recently on Brazil’s MMA Ganhador podcast and offered some details.
“Technically and physically, Vitor has full conditions to continue fighting,” said Lacerda, as translated byGuilherme Cruz for MMA Fighting. “Of course, he has the hormonal deficiency everybody knows… But I think he lit up his fire again. We’ll go fight by fight. First, we’ll think about his fight with Nate Marquardt, and then we have more good things ahead.”
“What I think it’s possible to imagine is: what does the MMA fan want? He wants to see Vitor vs. Wanderlei, wants to see Vitor vs. Sonnen. He wants these type of fights. And it’s the type of fights that interests us. Vitor doesn’t need to prove anything regarding ranking or title. The idea is to have fights that are interesting. Interest the fans, and interest the fighter.”
“I’m particularly crazy to see Vitor vs. Wanderlei. It’s a fight I pay to see. There are fights people want to see, and those are the fights that are interesting. Where it will be, and how it will be, I can’t say anything right now. But they might happen.”
Sonnen and Silva of course fight for Bellator now, and the manager said promotions had reached out regarding Belfort’s free agency. Although he didn’t name the promotions, one of them is apparently Bellator. Belfort had publicly suggested the UFC start a legends league. The concept does not fit the UFC’s business model, but Bellator has enjoyed success with an informal legends league with the likes of Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock. Belfort would be a successful mix.