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Vitor Belfort: ‘I’ll continue competing’ in MMA after my last UFC fight

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Vitor Belfort’s UFC 212 fight vs. Nate Marquardt will be his farewell to the UFC, but he’s not done competing just yet.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Belfort vs Gastelum Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Former UFC champion Vitor Belfort is just about two weeks away from fighting Nate Marquardt at UFC 212. The 40-year-old hasn’t won in nearly two years, and the Marquardt showdown represents the last fight on his UFC contract.

Belfort will not be re-upping with the UFC after his contract is over, but will he still keep fighting or will “The Phenom” hang up the gloves after more than 20 years in the sport? Perhaps unsurprisingly, he confirmed to Veja Rio (translation via MMA Fighting) that he’s not going to retire just yet.

"(I will) leave the UFC, but I’ll continue competing,” Belfort said. "Fight is my passion. Too bad that MMA hasn’t become a serious sport yet. Maybe I’ll help change this scenario.”

On the topic of “serious sport,” Vitor also had something to say about the state of the UFC, as well as fighters who are focusing on the entertainment side more than the actual sport.

"Today, a fighter is more artist than athlete,” Belfort said. "The UFC is a show, not a sport. It’s sad to see new fighters wanting to drive the card of the moment or be in the spotlight like Conor McGregor. Their reference is to have, not to be."

Belfort (25-13, 1 NC) is coming off a TKO loss to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Fortaleza in March. That result was overturned to a no contest after Gastelum tested positive for marijuana in an in-competition test. He also suffered TKO defeats vs. Ronaldo Souza and Gegard Mousasi in the two fights preceding the Gastelum bout.

UFC 212 goes down on Saturday, June 3rd at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.