It’s easy to forget that UFC middleweight fighter Vitor Belfort is a member of MMA’s old guard, but the 34-year-old Brazilian made his debut in the sport in 1996, his UFC debut the year after. Over that lengthy career, The Phenom has consistently faced the world’s best, having put in cage time with the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Kazushi Sakuraba, Tito Ortiz, Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson and Anderson Silva.
That’s why, despite having remained mostly in the win column of late, Belfort can see the end of his career approaching on the horizon. As he recently explained to MMAFighting’s Ben Fowlkes, the time comes for all fighters.
“I want to finish strong. I want to finish the best I can finish. We’ll see when God’s going to decide to speak to my heart and tell me that it’s the moment to finish. I know that the time is coming, so I’m preparing to finish the best I can finish,” he said.
“God will speak to my heart,” Belfort continued, explaining when he’ll know it’s time to retire. “I will feel the moment. I don’t have any ego or pride. In life, you have to understand that everything has a beginning, middle, and end. The only thing that doesn’t have an end is God’s presence, and God Himself. He’s the only thing that doesn’t have an end. …That time will come and I will feel it. And when it comes, I’m going to accept it.”
Before he retires, Belfort has at least two more bouts left to fight: one this weekend at UFC 142 against debuting middleweight Anthony Johnson and the other upon the conclusion of his coaching stint on TUF Brasil against Wanderlei Silva.