Since 1996, Vitor Belfort has been a force in MMA.
Belfort, though, has finally been hit by father time, culminating with a knockout loss Saturday night to Lyoto Machida at UFC 224.
Following the defeat, the Brazilian made it official, leaving his gloves inside the Octagon and confirming his plans to retire from MMA.
“Congratulations to Machida team, he surprised me pretty well,” Belfort said. “I want to thank my team, my family and my fans.
“Live is about beginning, middle and end,” he said. “I think I came to the end. Congratulations to Machida and I’m leaving my gloves here.”
Belfort is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and winner of the UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament. He owns 12 knockouts in the UFC – a record – and has scored 13 first round finishes for the promotion.
Social media paid its respects to Belfort following the fight:
— Dana White (@danawhite) May 13, 2018
@vitorbelfort thank you for your contribution to the MMA . What you have done for MMA is amazing.
— Brian Ortega (@BrianTcity) May 13, 2018
— UFC (@ufc) May 13, 2018
What a head kick from Lyoto. What a career Vitor Belfort had. Respect Vitor. #UFC224
— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) May 13, 2018
What a career @vitorbelfort
Much respect to you and everything you have accomplished in the @ufc
— Chase Sherman (@ChaseShermanUFC) May 13, 2018
— Jessica Penne (@JessicaPenne) May 13, 2018