Vitor Belfort has swung from saying his UFC 212 bout opposite Nate Marquardt would be the final fight of his career to possibly seeking employment elsewhere after the bout to feeling he might just continue his career in the Octagon.
After his fight with Kelvin Gastelum in March, Belfort said that he hoped to fight at UFC 212 in what he thought would be the final fight of his current UFC contract, ending his career. But then, a couple weeks ago, his manager indicated that it was possible that Belfort might fight for Bellator or some other promotion after completing his UFC contract.
Now, however, Belfort, who spent part of his camp at Georges St-Pierre‘s TriStar Gym in Montreal, appears to be reinvigorated.
“I’ll be okay if this is my last fight, but it feels more like a new beginning,” Belfort told ESPN. “I feel this can be the beginning of more fights in the UFC.”
Part of Belfort’s turnabout on fighting again in the Octagon could have to do with his contractual status. Brazilian website Combate reported and MMA Fighting confirmed that Belfort still has one fight left on his deal after facing Marquardt at UFC 212.
Aside from fulfilling his contract, however, Belfort’s outlook on the UFC beyond fighting has also been reinvigorated. While many of his peers continue to rattle the sabers of forming a union, Belfort seems to think he could play a larger role beyond fighting in the Octagon if he remains with the promotion, perhaps foregoing the need for a union.
“The UFC has always been great to me, and I love them. There are new owners of the UFC, and I think I can help a lot. I heard they have a new, great office in Las Vegas. I am a businessman. I think I can be a great way to communicate between the organization and fighters,” he said.
“I don’t think we need a union. I think we need to make shifts in the organization and make it as successful as it can be. We’ve already grown as entertainment, now let’s grow as a sport. Athletes in basketball get paid not just to compete but to train as well. We need to make this happen in the UFC. I’m very open with this organization, and they are open with me.”
For now, Belfort is focused on the task at hand, which is Nate Marquardt. After UFC 212, we’ll see where his ever-shifting gaze focuses.