Jones ‘nothing but respect’ for Belfort
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort retired at UFC 224, following a KO loss to Lyoto Machida. Later, reports surfaced that Belfort had entered the fight with a knee injury.
21 years ago Belfort cited “flu” after being stopped by Randy Couture, and some non-charitable fans were not impressed. However, Belfort himself said nothing about the injury, as he made clear during a recent message on his social network.
“With the intention to be as honest as I can be with my fans and especially with my opponent, I will go straight to the point,” wrote Belfort. “The injury that happened with me during the training camp somehow made the news.
My team nor I had mentioned [it] before, during or after the fight.
“Winning or losing, fighting injured or not, is part of an athlete’s life. I’m not the first nor will [I be] be the last athlete to fight injured. Even though all the limitations imposed on me because of the injury I suffered, it is my decision to step into the Octagon or not.
“And I decided to do it!
“I did not want to miss the chance to have my last fight at the UFC, in my country, my hometown, and with such a respected opponent.
“I gave my best on the fight and my opponent was the better man that night. And this is what counts! Nothing that happened with me during the training camp takes anything away from his victory.
“Of course [it] wasn’t the outcome I wished for. Not because of the defeat, because we can’t control the outcome. What bothers me is knowing that I performed below what I know that I can.
“I literally grew up in the cage, I was brought [up] to be a fighter, to leave it all in the cage… and these teachings I brought to all the aspects of my life – Dedicate every minute, every second doing the best you can in whatever you’re committed to.
“To the ones genuinely concerned with me, I will tell you this: I feel like an injured Lion. To the haters and the envious, I will tell you this: I might be injured, BUT I’M STILL A LION!
“See you all very soon…”
Fellow former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who survived an elbow popping armbar to defeat Belfort at UFC 152 in 2012, offered a laudatory reply.
“Enjoy your retirement brother, you deserve it,” wrote Jones on his social network. “Thank you for the magnificent fight, learned a lot about myself that night. Nothing but respect for you Vitor Belfort.
“PS I know my arm would have been a nice little trophy for you; maybe we can run it back sometime in the future. Charity jujitsu match or something.”
Belfort’s closing line about seeing us all soon was hopefully not a reference to fighting on. But a charity grappling match vs. Jones, that would be awesome.