Vitor Belfort Explains Why He’s Facing Lyoto Machida in Retirement Fight

Vitor Belfort confirms his upcoming matchup against Lyoto Machida and explains why this was the fight that made sense as the final one of his legendary career

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Vitor Belfort still has designs on retiring following his next fight and it appears he couldn’t be any happier with the choice of opponents.

Belfort was originally scheduled to compete in January in a middleweight showdown against Uriah Hall that was announced as the last of his career. Unfortunately, Hall suffered a brutal weight cut and ended up in the hospital, which ultimately cancelled the matchup with Belfort.

Now the former UFC champion finally has a new fight on deck as he’s expected to face Lyoto Machida at the upcoming UFC 224 card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 12.

According to Belfort, he has nothing but the utmost respect for Machida, which is why this seemed like the perfect matchup for him to have before calling it a career in front of his home country fans in Brazil.

“I’m over 20 years being relevant in this sport. I broke a lot barriers and paved the way for a generation after me. I am one of the pioneers of the sport and I’m proud it it,” Belfort wrote on Instagram. “I could not walk into the Octagon for the last time without sending a relevant message to the athletes, fans and to the sport itself.

“That is the reason why I chose to fight a friend of mine. An athlete that I have a lot respect. A good person a family man. I’m against the so famous “trash talk”. MMA is a sport! A sport that myself and a lot of family men work really hard to support our families. Lyoto [Machida] and I have known each other for many years, I know his family and we have trained together. I wanted this fight to take place in Brazil because that is where everything started and now it’s time for us to send another message to the world. And the message is respect!”

I’m over 20 years being relevant in this sport. I broke a lot barriers and paved the way for a generation after me. I am one of the pioneers of the sport and I’m proud it it. I could not walk into the octagon for the last time without sending a relevant message to the: athletes, fans and to the sport itself. That is the reason why I chose to fight a friend of mine. An athlete that I have a lot respect. A good person a family man. I’m against the so famous “trash talk”. MMA is a sport! A sport that myself and a lot of family men work really hard to support our families. Lyoto and I have known each other for many years, I know his family and we have trained together. I wanted this fight to take place in Brazil because that is where everything started and now it’s time for us to send another message to the world. And the message is: RESPECT! May 12th @lyotomachidafw and I will step into the octagon as professionals and we still be friends. Always respecting each other and the way we will do that is giving our best in the octagon. I want people to understand that you don’t have to be a bully to be a fighter, you have to be a real man. And that is exactly what the world is in need, real man willing to pay the price to make a difference.

A post shared by Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort (@vitorbelfort) on

Machida actually mentioned a possible fight against Belfort following his last win over Eryk Anders in Brazil in February and now the two former champions have been matched up against each other.

Obviously, Belfort holds no ill will towards Machida and just wants to have one last great fight before retiring from the sport in May.

Belfort and Machida are the latest addition to the upcoming UFC 224 fight card with a main event still to be determined for the show.

Are you excited about Vitor Belfort facing Lyoto Machida in his retirement fight at UFC 224? Sound off in the comments and let us know.