Vitor Belfort Explains Decision to Accept Fight Against Lyoto Machida at UFC 224

By Tristen Critchfield Feb 18, 2018


Respect for opponent played a major role in Vitor Belfort’s acceptance of a fight against Lyoto Machida at UFC 224.

While the bout has not been formally announced by the UFC, multiple outlets have confirmed the middleweight pairing in recent days. UFC 224 takes place at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro on May 12.

“I’m over 20 years being relevant in this sport. I broke a lot of barriers and paved the way for a generation after me. I am one of the pioneers of the sport and I’m proud of 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,” he continued. “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!”

Belfort was supposed to have his retirement fight against Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night 124, but the bout was canceled at the last minute after Hall had a weight-cut scare. “The Phenom” last appeared at UFC 212, where he took a unanimous decision over Nate Marquardt.

Machida, meanwhile, halted a three-bout skid with a split-decision triumph over Eryk Anders at UFC Fight Night 125.

“May 12 [Lyoto Machida] and I will step into the octagon as professionals and we still be friends,” Belfort wrote. “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 men willing to pay the price to make a difference.”

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 Feb 17, 2018 at 12:12pm PST

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