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Vitor Belfort exploring free agency: ‘In 2019 I will come back’

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It looks like Vitor Belfort will continue to ply his trade in somewhere outside the UFC in 2019.

MMA: UFC 224- Belfort vs Machida Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Before Vitor Belfort stepped into the Octagon against Lyoto Machida at UFC 224 in May, he had already made up his mind that he was going to leave the UFC. He seemed a little on the fence about actual retirement though, despite stating that he was done. Well, unsurprisingly, Belfort feels like he had more to offer in the fight game.

As a guest on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN, the 41-year-old Belfort (26-14, 1 NC, 15-10, 1 NC UFC) stated that he’s interested in a return and has been actively speaking to multiple promotions:

“I am a free agent. We are in conversation. In 2019 I will come back.”

He thought he would be done at 40, but apparently not:

“I never plan, but I remember in 2007, I made a decision, ‘OK, I’m going to be fighting until I’m 40.’ Here I am, finishing this plan I made in 2007. You’ve got to respect your body and know the time to transition to what’s next. A lot of athletes cannot transition. They don’t have nothing to do after.”

As for where he could fight, it seems that all options besides the UFC on the table:

”We are looking for a place where we can be a fighter and be the athlete and we can bring value,” he said. “I am very thankful with what UFC provide me and I saw how UFC was run by very smart businessmen. They gave me the opportunity to create my own platform.”

...

“I have so much things that I want accomplish and I think the sport needs a change.”