In fact, he never left.
Despite several reports suggesting that he was to retire from mixed martial arts following his defeat to Gegard Mousasi last weekend at UFC 204 in Manchester, and a somewhat cryptic Instagram post last night, Vitor Belfort isn’t going anywhere.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion, now 39 years of age, has lost three of his last four bouts inside the octagon, including a title shot to then-champion Chris Weidman, but now it seems that the ‘Phenom’ isn’t ready to hang up his gloves just yet.
However, it seemed the opposite when Belfort posted this on Saturday evening:
Quem não conhecesse os seus erros não é digno de liderar a si mesmo, quanto mais as pessoas que o cercam. Reconheço que não sou perfeito, sou somente HUMANO , um SER HUMANO. O poeta já escreveu : ” – que o amor seja eterno enquanto dure.” Esse é um belíssimo trecho de um poema. Porém eu o considero ingênuo. Com todo carinho e respeito ao poeta, peço permissão para reescrevê-lo da seguinte maneira: ” – QUE O AMOR SEJA ETERNO ENQUANTO SEJA CULTIVADO.” Confesso que preciso cultivar meu desejo pela competição dentro do octógono. Sei que tenho que zelar por aquela chama que sempre ardeu em mim. Tendo conhecimento pleno disso: ” – DECIDI QUE CUSTE O QUE CUSTAR VOU REACENDER MAIS UMA VEZ ESSA CHAMA.” Muito obrigado pelo carinho e apoio. Vou finalizar esse capítulo na minha vida, olhando no espelho e reconhecendo a mim mesmo. Who does not recognize your own mistakes it is not worthy to lead yourself, even less the people around him. I recognize that I am far from perfect, I am only human; a human being. Once a poet in Brazil wrote: ” – may love be eternal while it lasts. It is a beautiful fragment of a poem, but a truly consider it naive. If I may and with all do respect, I would re write it like this: ” – may love be eternal while we nurture it.” I confess that I need to nurture my competitive will inside the Octagon. I must cherish that fire inside of me again. Having recognized that to myself; I DECIDED TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO BURN THAT FLAME AGAIN! Thanks a lot for all the support and advices. But I decided that I will end this chapter of my life looking at the mirror and recognizing myself. @mundoboxing
However, as reported by MMAJunkie, Belfort intends to step back into the cage sooner rather than later.
“I’m not retired. I want to fight again soon. I am driven to get back on my feet and honor the nickname I so proudly carry. ‘The Phenom’ is back”, Belfort was quoted as saying.
“I am not pleased with my two last performances and changes are being made. I don’t want to end my career the way it is right now. I want to look at the mirror and recognise myself as the fighter I always have been.
“I have 20 years in this sport, and I intend to honor that legacy.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Belfort will continue with the UFC, to whom he resigned with the company in 2009, or whether the likes of Bellator or Rizin might seem a more interesting proposition for a fighter in the twilight of his career.