After his knockout loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 224, Vitor Belfort heavily suggested he was retiring from MMA after competing in his last contracted UFC fight and laying his gloves down on the Octagon floor.
But the Brazilian was purposely coy on his future after his post-fight interview in the cage.
Months later, Belfort has been vocal in campaigning for fights against a number of famed competitors nearing the end of their careers – even those who are only just returning from retirement.
Belfort called out the winner of the Bellator 206 fight between Wanderlei Silva and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, as well as Chael Sonnen, before Jackson emerged with the victory which tied his series with Silva at 2-2.
Now, Chuck Liddell has caught Belfort’s attention.
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You have to grab life by the balls, no matter who calls the shots! I beat u @chuckliddell. U were lucky to be managed by the boss @danawhite #ufc #mma #vitorbelfot #chuckliddell #champion #dana #wwe #mmafighter #mmatraining #belfort #fighter #K.O Você tem que agarrar a vida pelas bolas, não importa quem manda! Eu derrotei você @chuckliddell. Vc teve sorte de ser agenciado pelo chefe @danawhite
Liddell is returning to the sport to fight long-time rival Tito Ortiz a month from now at the tender age of 48. The fight will be promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, the legendary boxer’s first foray into mixed martial arts.
Belfort and Liddell fought back in 2002 at UFC 37.5. “The Iceman” Liddell took the unanimous decision in Las Vegas’ Bellagio Hotel and Casino that night, something which obviously still smarts with Belfort to this day.
Belfort has also fought Ortiz in the past, suffering a split decision loss almost 14 years ago. Perhaps “The Phenom” will return to social media to call Ortiz out next.
In the past, Belfort has spoken of wanting a legend’s league of MMA, pitting some of the sport’s best-known names against each other. In his Instagram callout of Rampage, Wanderlei, and Sonnen, he included a ‘legendsleague’ hashtag.
“I want to be able to make the fans happy and give them what they need,” Belfort once told MMAjunkie. “Not just entertain them, but give them the pleasure to see legends. I think that’s what they love to do. Why just retire them? Bring them back.”
Whether it’s Ortiz, Liddell, Rampage, Wanderlei, or Sonnen, Belfort is seemingly campaigning for a MMA comeback. Given the names he’s focusing his attention on, perhaps he will realise his dream of an MMA legends league after all.