A big middleweight bout is confirmed for UFC 224, slated to take place May 12th in Rio de Janeiro. This week the UFC announced that former champions Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida will be locking horns. For Belfort, it will be the final fight in his contract, and he has stated that it will mark his farewell. He wrote a long post on social media about the fight. Here it is, unedited:
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:
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.
To Machida, who celebrates 15 years of MMA in May, the fight is a chance to recover time lost after his two-year suspension by the USADA. He’s coming off a win over Eryk Anders at UFC Belém. He also went online to post about the upcoming fight. Here’s our translation:
This will be my third fight after returning to the UFC’s Octagon. It represents the rhythm I need and want to have in this sport. My training and plentiful dedication show me that I’m capable and can go back to achieving good results. I’m happy to have this fight in Brazil and my opponent, Vitor Belfort, will be doing his last official UFC bout. With a lot of respect, we will give our best in order to, in the end, give you the gift of a good fight.